WOTUS One Step Closer To Extinction
President Trump has signed an executive order, which directs the EPA to formally reconsider the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.
"It's a horrible, horrible rule," Trump said during a White House signing ceremony. "Has sort of a nice name, but everything else is bad."
Trump also called WOTUS a "massive power grab" during the signing ceremony and claimed without offering further details that EPA regulators have been responsible for putting "hundreds of thousands" of Americans out of jobs.
Iowa Senator Grassley released a statement applauding the move, calling the executive order an example of Washington "finally standing up for our rural communities."
Meantime, some groups, including the National Resources Defense Council, were unhappy with the announcement. NRDC's president, Rhea Suh, says the order prioritizes "big polluters" over public health and safe drinking water.
Reversing WOTUS should come as no surprise by anyone familiar with Trump’s stance on overregulation, including a January 2017 policy position called “An America First Energy Plan,” which states in part:
"For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years."
WOTUS has been criticized for ambiguities that could allow for federal overreach concerning “any water that is in a 100- year floodplain and within 1,500 feet of another regulated water,” according to a report from September 2016 by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt addressed a conservative summit on Feb. 25, saying WOTUS “made puddles and dry creek beds across this country subject to the jurisdiction of Washington, D.C. That’s going to change.”