President Trump Targets Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule in Latest Executive Order
WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, February 28, President Donald Trump signed an executive order calling for the review of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
According to news source Reuters, the executive order is expected to be the first step in the process of undoing the Obama-era WOTUS rule.
In a statement released in response to the executive action, Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif expressed the association's commitment to the health of the nation's water ways, but noted that it believes the WOTUS rule exceeds the federal government's jurisdiction.
“We are pleased with President Trump’s executive order directing the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to formally reconsider WOTUS," noted Nassif, in a company statement. "While we recognize this order will not immediately repeal the rule, it will provide adequate space for these federal agencies to engage state and local governments to craft an alternative solution that both fits within the boundaries prescribed in the Act and serves the best interests of the environment and key stakeholders."
The rule, finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2015, was created in order to clarify exactly which bodies of water fall under federal clean water protections.
While, the New York Times notes, environmentalists have praised the rule, critics of WOTUS—including farmers, property developers, fertilizer and pesticide manufacturers, oil and gas companies, golf-course owners and other business interests—have questioned the rule, contending that it may stifle economic growth and intrude on property rights.
President Trump characterized the WOTUS rule as “a massive power grab,” while others have noted that the EPA’s jurisdiction has, in fact, shrunk since the implementation of the rule.
Legal experts note that while the President’s executive order will allow EPA Director Scott Pruitt to begin the process of unravelling WOTUS, the dismantling effort could be lengthy process—probably more than a single Presidential term.
Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow for updates as the situation progresses.