The Trump administration’s proposed new definition of “Waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act is either a radical policy shift that misinterprets Supreme Court precedent and will leave up to 70 percent of tributaries and half the nation’s wetlands unprotected, or it’s a constitutionally valid approach to regulating the nation’s waters that preserves the states’ lead role over water pollution control and land use planning.
The Environmental Protection Agency continues to estimate that it will have a new WOTUS rule by next September, but meeting that target date may be difficult. The timeline is according to the government's latest agenda for regulatory action.
House and Senate negotiators are likely to provide another infusion of cash into rural broadband development, but an effort to repeal the Obama-era “waters of the U.S. rule” doesn’t appear likely to survive the talks on fiscal 2019 spending bills.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural organizations are asking a Texas court to block enforcement of the Obama-era “waters of the U.S.” rule in the 26 states where courts have not already stayed its implementation.
A federal judge ruled that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers improperly suspended the Obama-era “waters of the U.S. rule,” allowing it to take effect in 26 states where it has not been blocked by court order.
Andrew Wheeler, newly appointed acting administrator of the EPA, said when President Donald Trump asked him to take over from the now-departed Scott Pruitt, he told Wheeler to do three things: “Clean the air, clean the water, and provide regulatory relief.”