New York Times: EPA to finalize rule that removes protections for streams and wetlands

Let’s not set our hair on fire over this rule revision. It is undoubtedly bad and over-reaching, but it was issued in response to reasonable concerns about the over-reaching of activist influences at EPA during the Obama administration. The WOTUS rule codified an extreme interpretation of the term “waters of the United States” that required getting federal government authority to perform any work on property that had, among other minimal and inconsequential features, characteristics such as dry gulches and man-made ditches that intermittently fill with water, even if they had no connection at all to a flowing stream. The burdens imposed on both agriculture and construction from this definition far out-weighed the environmental benefit of the restrictions imposed by the regulation. The solution to this, however, should have been to return to a common sense scientifically supported interpretation rather than (almost literally) “throwing out the baby with the bath water” as this new rule does.  Regrettably, the new rule will do much more harm than the one it has, for at least the time being, replaced. I anticipate that the courts will throw out the Trump-EPA rule and require the agency to issue a re-write, reflecting sound science and balanced policy.

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