Thursday, March 02, 2017

Trump signs executive order 'paving the way' for reversing key Obama era Clean Water Act rule (meteor Blades) · Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 7:16 pm

Pr*sident Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday calling for a review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Given the complex nature of the rule and the controversy surrounding it, that review could take a very long time. You can read a draft of the order here.

There is little doubt that Trump would dump the rule outright if he could. However, the Supreme Court decided in Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Assn. v. State Farm that any decision to rescind a rule falls under the same “arbitrary and capricious” test that must be met when a rule is imposed. To the small group of attendees, Trump said at the White House before he signed:

"EPA's so-called waters of the United States rule is one of the worst examples of federal regulation, and it's truly run amok, and it's one of the rules most strongly opposed by farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers all across our land prohibiting them from being allowed to do what they are supposed to be doing. Been a disaster." [...]

It's a horrible, horrible rule. It was a nice name but everything else is bad. I've been hearing about it for years and years. I didn't know necessarily I would be in a position to do something about it but we've been hearing about it for years."

"With today's executive order, I am directing the EPA to take action, paving the way for the elimination of this very disruptive and horrible rule

The WOTUS rule was written by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clarify which bodies of water are covered by the Clean Water Act. Under the rule, that means “any water that is in a 100-year floodplain and within 1,500 feet of another regulated water.” The rule was expanded to include these bodies "because science shows that they impact downstream waters."

But the rule spurred fierce anger among farmers, real estate developers, and energy companies. Private industry, 31 states and many localities have challenged the rule as an unconstitutional expansion of the Clean Water Act, what many conservatives call a classic case of federal “over-reach.”

A split decision in the 2006 Rapanos v. United States ruling states that covered bodies of water must, in the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy, have a “significant nexus” with the nation’s navigable waters.

A key opponent of the rule is none other than Scott Pruitt, the liar who was confirmed last week as chief of the EPA, an agency he hates and sued 16 times as attorney general of Oklahoma. One of those Oklahoma lawsuits was filed against the WOTUS rule. In October, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals placed a nationwide stay on implementation of the rule.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, Pruitt said the WOTUS had:

“made puddles and dry creek beds across this country subject to the jurisdiction of Washington, D.C. That’s going to change. … "I think there are some regulations that in the near-term need to be rolled back in a very aggressive way. And I think maybe next week you may be hearing about some of those."

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