Last week, water experts marked the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act with a dire warning: After evaluating over 700,000 miles of rivers and streams across the country, they concluded that half of those waters are too polluted to fish or swim in—and agriculture is often to blame.(No paywall)
The Supreme Court opened the door to a possible revision of wetlands regulations by agreeing to decide whether Michael and Chantell Sackett can build a house in the Idaho panhandle. Justices will hear the case even though the Biden administration is writing a new definition of the upstream reach of the Clean Water Act.
The president of the largest U.S. farm group called for members to bring the "same energy and devotion when it comes to WOTUS" that they used last year to preserve a tax break on inherited property. President Zippy Duvall said the American Farm Bureau Federation also influenced legislation and USDA programs on climate mitigation to ensure that they "respect farmers."
The Biden administration said on Thursday it would re-establish the "waters of the United States" rule that was in place before 2015, a step that would repeal a narrow regulation written during the Trump era. The National Wildlife Federation said that "many streams and wetlands nationwide will regain undisputed protections."
Shortly after telling senators that he wanted a "long-term, durable solution," EPA administrator Michael Regan said on Wednesday that the Biden administration would write a new definition of the upstream reach of clean water laws. The process would include repeal of the 2020 Trump-era rule that replaced 2015 Obama water regulations the farm sector decried as federal overreach.
Decrying what it called regulatory overreach, the Trump administration announced on Thursday that it will limit enforcement of clean water laws to oceans, rivers, core tributaries, and adjacent wetlands. Environmentalists said the move would leave half of U.S. wetlands and millions of miles of streams without protection from pollution.
President Trump will propose limits on federal jurisdiction over waterways this week, said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley on Tuesday. Trump hinted at the proposal during a speech to farmers, saying it would “allow states to manage their water resources based on their own needs and what their farmers …
President Trump announced a plan to roll back Obama-era clean water regulations that aimed to protect rivers and streams from agricultural runoff and other pollutants. It will remove vast wetlands and thousands of miles of waterways from federal protection.
President Trump announced the resignation of scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator on Thursday but said that the agency’s No. 2 official, Andrew Wheeler, “will continue with our great and lasting EPA agenda.”
Ten states on the East and West Coasts sued the EPA for its decision to delay until 2020 a clean water rule issued during the Obama era, saying the suspension was hurried into effect "with inadequate public notice, insufficient record support and outside their statutory authority." The original rule was a prominent part of President Trump's campaign for regulatory relief.
President Trump set out to erase the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule in his first weeks in office. Now the EPA has finalized an action that should keep the so-called WOTUS rule from ever taking effect.
President Trump has nominated Kathleen Hartnett White, a current senior policy adviser at the free-market think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation, to serve as the White House’s senior environmental policy adviser. Hartnett has argued that calling carbon dioxide a pollutant is “absurd,” and that C02 should instead be considered the gas of life.
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt stars in a 78-second National Cattleman's Beef Association video that urges farmers and ranchers to file comments about repeal of the so-called Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, "and ...about how to get it right as we go forward." Pruitt's role in the video, which directs viewers to the NCBA website to file comments, "has drawn the attention of experts in government ethics," says E&E News.
John Duarte, a Northern California farmer, has agreed to pay a $1.1 million penalty to settle a years-long case that started in 2012, after he bought and tilled fallow land within a federally protected wetland.
The EPA will provide clarity to the reach of the clean water law with its revisions of the so-called Waters of the United States that was proposed by the Obama administration and blocked by court challenges, said administrator Scott Pruitt in a Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette interview. Pruitt said the new rule would be “objectively measured and traditional in its view of how we should measure waters of the United States.”
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt "has moved to undo, delay or otherwise block more than 30 environmental rules" in his four months in office, a larger rollback in so short a time than the agency has ever seen, says the New York Times. While the Trump agenda has stumbled in many areas, all sides agree that Pruitt "is moving effectively to dismantle the regulations and international agreements that stood as a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's legacy," said the newspaper.
The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are moving to rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which clarifies which waters are federally protected from pollution under the original 1972 Clean Water Act. A statement from the agencies calls the rule, known as Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, an example of federal overreach.
In August 2015, U.S. district judge Ralph Erickson blocked the Obama administration's Waters of the United States rule from taking effect, the first injunction against the clean water rule. Now the North Dakota judge would be elevated to the U.S. appellate court under a nomination announced by the White House.
Although President Trump has signed an executive order to roll back the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, the Supreme Court decided that it will continue hearing a legal challenge of the 2015 EPA rule. Justices denied a Justice Department request to halt work on the case while the administration decides whether to rewrite or rescind the rule, said E&E News.