During his 8 years in office, Barack Obama blew away previous records in enacting new, more onerous regulations that stifled industries from the energy sector to construction to fishing.
One such regulation that had a huge effect on states’ rights as well as that of property owners was put in place by eliminating one small word from the The Waters of the US Rule – “navigable”.
By eliminating “navigable” from the waterways included under federal jurisdiction, Obama expanded the EPA’s control over the nation’s waters by including small drainage ditches, spring wetlands, livestock watering holes, and even large puddles after flooding rains. The consequences resulted in burdensome new regulations effecting untold businesses.
It amounted to an unprecedented federal takeover of private property rights.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump began the process of revamping the controversial water regulation pushed through by Obama by reaching out to state governors.
“EPA is restoring states’ important role in the regulation of water,” said Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt in a statement after he and the Army Corps of Engineers sent a letter to state leaders.
“Like President Trump, I believe that we need to work with our state governments to understand what they think is the best way to protect their waters, and what actions they are already taking to do so. We want to return to a regulatory partnership, rather than regulate by executive fiat,” Pruitt said.
According to Washington Examiner:
Pruitt and the Army Corps began sending letters to state agencies asking for their feedback on changing a key definition for waterways under the rule.”The Army, together with the Corps of Engineers, is committed to working closely with and supporting the EPA on these rulemakings,” according to Douglas Lamont, a senior official acting as the assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “As we go through the rulemaking process, we will continue to make the implementation of the Clean Water Act Section 404 regulatory program as transparent as possible for the regulated public.”The process to rewrite the water rule follows President Trump’s executive order from February directing the agencies to reconsider the regulation in line with the opinion of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2006. Scalia had laid out a framework in the case Rapanos v. United States that said the EPA’s Clean Water Act authority should extend only to waterways that are permanent.
The Trump administration officials said they are prioritizing the role of states throughout the process, something which Obama usurped in his quest for more federal power.
Thirty-one states sued the Obama administration to stop the 2015 rule, in concert with business and industry groups effected by the regulation.
“EPA is restoring states’ important role in the regulation of water,” Pruitt said in a statement.