Proponents of the rule said it would protect streams and wetlands by more clearly defining which ones were protected.
The officials also argued that the critiques of the rules were significantly exaggerated, that they had no interest in regulating muddy puddles and that existing exemptions for farming practices would continue. These are critical for water supplies in water-scarce regions of the West.
After the 2015 rule, Owen McDonough of the National Association of Homebuilders said a developer who buys a rural piece of land “is all of a sudden faced with jurisdiction waters, and then he has to secure federal permits, and offset his impacts”.
The executive order directs the Environmental Protection Agency’s leader Scott Pruitt to initiate the lengthy legal process of rescinding and rewriting the rule, called Waters of the United States. The EPA has an important mission in enforcing the federal Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. In Colorado, 68 percent of streams are seasonal.
Under Obama, the EPA and the Corps of Engineers attempted to create regulations to settle the issue. Enter Donald Trump, a golf course owner himself. In a 2006 opinion, Scalia interpreted federal jurisdiction narrowly, saying only “relatively permanent, standing or continuously flowing” waters or wetlands with a surface connection to navigable waterways were covered. Even seasonal water bodies can be crucial resources for plants and wildlife, and wetlands can provide protection from flooding and erosion.
“EPA’s Waters of the United States rule would give the federal government authority to regulate waters not previously subject to regulation, including those in the prairie pothole regions of Montana”, said Tom Butcher, president of the Grain Growers.
Locally, the president’s action was well received.
Gov. John Hickenlooper could not be reached.
According to a 2014 article from Modern Farmer, U.S. farm animals produce 335 million tons of manure every year.
President Trump had railed against the rule during his campaign, and Republicans have been fighting it since its inception, slamming it as an example of federal overreach. The WOTUS rule unfairly imposes burdensome red tape and unnecessary costs on Colorado’s farmers and ranchers at a time when the agriculture community is facing significant challenges and barriers to success.
“Trump’s decision today is a path to dirtier water and more toxic disasters”, said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune in a press release. The EPA maintained the aim is to protect the waters from pollution and development and to safeguard drinking water. We believe that farmers can be a productive voice in the discussion over water regulation, and we look for a seat at the table, because as farmers, our primary goals are the healthy soils and clean water that sustain us from growing season to growing season. “We will stand up to this reckless assault”.
There is little doubt that Trump would dump the rule outright if he could.
At issue is an old political question with deep roots in science: where does the U.S. government’s authority to regulate water resources give way to that of the individual states?