Shedding Light on Unconstitutional Federal Regulations
September 29, 2017 – Ditch the Waters of the U.S. Rule
What does this regulation do?
The Clean Water rule, or “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, is one of the most intrusive and expansive regulations that came from President Obama’s political Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The WOTUS rule unnecessarily bloats EPA’s regulatory scope by more broadly defining what bodies of water can be federally regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Under CWA, the regulatory definition is clear – the waters must be “navigable.” By expanding that definition, the WOTUS rule gives EPA discretion to regulate almost any type of water. This includes water that would not be navigable under normal conditions, such as man-made ditches and dry washes that may hold water only a few days a year.
Why is this a problem?
This rule is a blatant attack on property rights and expansion of government bureaucracy. If a body of water on private land is covered under the expanded definition, the property owner will be required to undergo a costly and bureaucratic permitting process before using their own land for certain activities. Since almost any body of water could be covered by the new rule, it is likely that many individuals, from farmers to business owners to families, could be affected.
How can we solve this problem?
In mid-September, I voted to pass H.R. 3354, which provides an expedited process for the EPA Administrator to withdraw the WOTUS rule. More importantly, EPA Administrator Pruitt has taken the first step to roll-back this regulation, inviting the public to comment on the rule’s effects. This week, I joined more than 200,000 Americans in submitting comments to EPA in opposition to the WOTUS rule. I look forward to Administration Pruitt repealing this rule and furthering the Trump Administration’s efforts to free our nation from overzealous regulation.
What are they saying?
“When Administrator Pruitt announced that the EPA would be initiating a review of the original WOTUS rule, it was a victory for the Constitution, for our economy, and for the hardworking families whose livelihoods were at stake if the rule was allowed to take full force.” The Obama Administration reasoned that executive fiat was the quickest way it could seize control over states’ and localities’ rightful jurisdictions while simultaneously ballooning the size of our federal agencies. In the case of WOTUS, they sought to make every puddle, ditch and creek in the United States subject to overbearing regulation merely with the stroke of a pen. But what one Presidential pen can enact, another can strike clean. It is clear that Administrator Pruitt and President Trump are steering our country clear of choppy regulatory waters by making bureaucrats work for the advancement and prosperity of the American people rather than giving them total power and free reign. I look forward to EPA’s upcoming publication of the final rule that will scrap the Obama Administration’s unlawful water grab once and for all.” - Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S.
“Implementing the 2015 WOTUS rule will severely impede our farmers’ and ranchers’ productivity and ability to operate efficiently. We strongly opposed the Rule then, and now we applaud the EPA’s proposal to repeal the Rule altogether. We urge EPA to recodify the previous statutory WOTUS definition, and “ditch the rule” as it was proposed in 2015." - Kevin Rogers, President, Arizona Farm Bureau
“We fully support the withdrawal and subsequent reproposal of an improved WOTUS rule that protects the environment and preserves property rights. We care deeply about clean water, but the 2015 WOTUS rule is regulatory overreach. Overreach that has devastating effects. In anticipation of the WOTUS rule implementation, we were forced to shut down development of an aggregates operation in Arizona due simply to the presence of dry washes and gullies. The property simply would have cost too much to develop under the rule. That's about 50 long-term, good paying jobs lost because of the threat of a bad rule." -National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association member Matthew Hinck, Environmental Manager, Calportland
" The 2015 Clean Water Rule introduced by the Obama administration would have brought nearly every river , stream, creek, wetland ,pond ,ditch and ephemeral in the US under the federal jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. The rule would have potentially harmed Apache Sun Golf Club and other golf courses in Arizona that contribute 3.9 billion to the state economy. It would mean more permits , particular Sections 402 and 404 permits and increased costs and course management delays. The 2015 rule is inconsistent and lacks clarity. The golf industry has submitted comments to the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers supporting the agencies decision to repeal the expansive rule and replace it with one more limited in scope that makes better sense for the industry while still protecting state and federal surface waters. " - Rory Van Poucke, Apache Sun Golf Club