An Update On “WOTUS”

The American Spectator posted an article today updating the progress President Trump has made in undoing the “Waters of the United States (WOTUS)” rule put in place by the Obama administration. Under the guise of protecting the environment, the rule essentially gives the government control of your property if you have a mud puddle that shows up every Spring. The article notes that undoing something put in place by a federal bureaucracy is harder than reversing the direction of an aircraft carrier.

The article reports:

WOTUS represented one of the great power grabs in government history. By redefining “waters of the U.S.,” Obama-era officials asserted federal authority (virtual ownership) over almost all water in the country — not only large lakes, rivers, and oceans, but also streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds, parking lot puddles, and irrigation ditches. Nothing in the law justified such a broad sweep.

The new rule, released this week, is unfortunately still much broader than the law justifies. The Clean Water Act, which sought to control pollution of the nation’s major waterways, contains the phrase “waters of the U.S.” in 12 places. Of those, nine use the phrase “navigable waters of the U.S.,” and the other three refer specifically to barges and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. “Navigable waters” were defined as “waters of the U.S.,” meaning the terms are synonymous. There are no waters of the U.S. that are not navigable. Not in the law.

Nevertheless, the new rule continues to assert federal jurisdiction over waters never intended by Congress. On the plus side, it includes a final definition of what are, and are not, waters of the United States. It specifically disclaims federal jurisdiction over farms, ranches, irrigation ditches, stock ponds, wastewater treatment systems, and rainwater runoff. But in addition to “territorial seas and navigable waters,” the definition still includes “perennial and intermittent tributaries to those waters,” “certain lakes, ponds, and impoundments,” and “wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters.”

The article concludes:

Vague definitions lead to abuses, which are far too common in recent years. Most recently, the prosecution of Jack LaPant, whose decision to plant wheat on his California farm — with full approval of the Agriculture Department — resulted in over $5 million in fines. It seems the Corps of Engineers considers topsoil a pollutant. That’s about as nonsensical as an attempt by the EPA a few years ago to declare sunlight a pollutant. In LaPlant’s case, the Corps missed a vitally important detail: Congress specifically exempted “normal farming activities” from federal “jurisdiction.” That clearly includes planting wheat, especially on existing farms where wheat has been grown before.

We understand the natural instinct of all bureaucracies to seek more power. But like most farms, that one has no floating boats, and it is not “navigable water.” The Trump administration inherited the case but has not dismissed it or stopped the prosecution. It turns out that turning the bureaucracy, despite orders from the admiral, is actually much harder than turning an aircraft carrier.

The above story illustrates why we need to re-elect President Trump. Hopefully the WOTUS rule can be revisited so that America’s ability to grow food to feed its people is not impacted.

Undoing The Economic Damage Done By The Obama Administration

Yesterday Fox News posted an article detailing some of the damage the environmental policies of the Obama Administration did to rural America. The article reminds us that President Trump and Scott Pruitt have ended the Waters Of The United States (WOTUS)  which attempted to give the government control over any mud puddle that appeared in your yard during heavy rains.

The article reports:

The far left will stop at nothing in their efforts to derail the presidency of Donald Trump. Still bitter about the outcome of 2016, the left claims much of their outrage toward the president is driven by his unpredictable personality, but ideological opposition to his administration’s reform-minded agenda is the real root of their anger.

Nowhere is this more evident than the furor surrounding Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Trump’s opponents have seized on a number of recent unflattering news stories involving Pruitt and his agency. While admittedly not the best public relations for Pruitt, his “real sin is that he is one of Mr. Trump’s most aggressive reformers,” as the Wall Street Journal editorialized last week. President Trump expressed a similar sentiment over the weekend when he tweeted praise for his EPA chief’s “bold actions” and “record clean Air & Water while saving USA Billions of Dollars.”

Since taking office last year, Pruitt has boldly carried out the president’s campaign promises. In October, he moved to repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations, ending the War On Coal and providing a shot in the arm for coal country that had been decimated.

The article points out the double standard in the attacks on Scott Pruitt:

Pruitt’s “scandals” are exaggerated for political expediency: never mind that the Obama EPA spent just as much, if not more, than Pruitt’s team, according to a recent Fox News report.  Or that Lisa Jackson, Obama’s EPA chief, was caught using the email alias “Richard Windsor” to communicate with people outside the government. Or that one Obama-era EPA employee was caught downloading and watching pornography on the job. These issues prompted no outrage from Hill offices, and one questions if Congressional inquiry could possibly be politically motivated, or if left-wing outrage is a one-way street.

The article concludes:

Our message to Administrator Pruitt: American energy workers who are going back to work thank you. The American economy thanks you. And please remember these wise words: if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

The political left has become something of a joke with their attacks on the Trump Administration. Meanwhile, President Trump has boosted the economy, put people back to work, and continues to accomplish good things. It would be nice to see those in Washington support America rather than their own political interests.