Category: National News

Washington, DC - When President Donald Trump took office, he immediately began a process to remove and replace undue regulatory burdens that stifle American innovation and economic development. At the top of the list was the Obama Administration’s 2015 Waters of the United States rule. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army are fulfilling the president’s objective and proposing a new definition that would put an end to the previous administration’s power grab.

Shortly after he took office, Trump issued an executive order directing EPA and the Army to review and replace, as appropriate, the 2015 definition with one that restores the rule of law and the role of states and landowners in managing their land and water resources. He also explicitly charged us to consider doing so in a manner consistent with Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in the landmark Rapanos case.

Our proposed new definition would do just that. It would end years of uncertainty over where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. For the first time, we are clearly delineating the difference between federally protected wetlands and state protected wetlands. Our proposal would be clearer and easier to understand, and, inspired by Scalia, it adheres to the statutory limits of our authority. It would help a landowner understand whether a project on his or her property will require a federal permit or not, without spending thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals or wasting precious time. Finally, it would ensure that America’s water protections - among the best in the world - remain strong, while giving states and tribes the certainty to manage their waters in ways that best protect their natural resource and local economies.

The U.S. is the gold standard for clean air and clean water. We reached that point through private sector innovation and cooperation between Washington and the states to implement our nation’s environmental laws. The Obama EPA’s 2015 definition upset that balance. The Trump administration’s proposal would respect the limits of federal authority and give hardworking Americans the freedom and certainty they need to do what they do best: develop, build and invest in projects that improve the environment and the lives of their fellow citizens.

Read the full op-ed here.