WASHINGTON – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, a replacement for the Obama-era WOTUS rule. Heritage senior research fellow Daren Bakst said the following:
For decades, the EPA and Corps have ignored the Clean Water Act and the U.S. Constitution to regulate almost every water imaginable, culminating in the Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule that took the disrespect for the rule of law to a new level. To its credit, the Trump Administration is trying something different with its new final rule on navigable waters: it is trying to actually follow the law.
While the law may be an inconvenient nuisance for those who believe in concentrated federal power, the EPA and Corps may not simply ignore what Congress has directed or the limits placed on the agencies by the U.S. Constitution. Beyond simply following the law, this new rule rightfully rejects the idea that Washington bureaucrats must regulate every drop of water in the country in order to effectively protect our nation’s waters.
The final rule is also designed to protect the environment while respecting the property rights of all Americans. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule will help end the excessive overreach of the past that caused regulatory nightmares for so many Americans, including farmers who simply wanted to farm their land and families looking to build their homes. Further, by having greater clarity, the EPA and Corps will be better able to implement and enforce the law, which should help lead to a cleaner environment.
There is still a need to take the time to carefully review the rule. However, it is clear from the outset that this new rule shows a respect for the rule of law, federalism, Congress, individual rights, and the environment that has been sorely lacking.