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.
President Donald Trump assured farmers struggling through a prolonged economic slump that better times are ahead for U.S. agriculture because of his efforts to lower trade barriers to American exports and roll back regulations.
Many areas covered by the Obama administration’s “waters of the U.S.” rule would be removed from federal oversight under a proposal released today by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers.
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.
If the “waters of the United States” rule became law, it would “freeze up” the use of farmland as landowners try to determine “whether every minor drainage ditch, dry arroyo, and nearby puddle is covered by the Clean Water Act,” farm groups said in an amicus brief filed in federal court in North Dakota.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved bills to fund the USDA, FDA and Army Corps of Engineers that steer clear of environmental issues addressed by the House’s versions of those same spending bills.