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Executive Order Withdraws Waters of the USA Rule

Photo courtesy of Richard Ricciardi via Flickr

Republican congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers  is hailing an executive order by President Trump to the EPA to withdraw and reconsider what is called the Waters of the USA rule.

The congresswoman from eastern Washington said Wednesday that the so called WOTUS rule from EPA was a misdirected order that would have had a negative impact on the region:

McMorris-Rodgers says, “This is one of the most burdensome EPA rules of recent years. It basically proposed to regulate every mud puddle in America. I heard about it a lot in eastern Washington. You think about the impact on our farmers cattlemen and ranchers.”

But one local conservation activist says McMorris Rodgers’ characterization of the rule is completely incorrect. Attorney Rick Eichstaedt of the Center for Justice says the rule actually was designed to ensure that waters protected under the Clean Water Act were more precisely defined, and could be regulated by EPA. 

Eichstaedt says, “Before the waters rule, arguably somebody could say that a puddle was subject to the jurisdiction of the clean water, the rule was designed to clarify what is and what isn’t.”

Eichstaedt says the argument that the rule would impact every water body is completely false, “You know if you dug a pond in your back yard for Koi? No those are not going to be subject to the rule, neither are irrigation districts or other agriculturally specific channels.”

Eichstaedt says rescinding the rule means there will once again be uncertainty as to what water bodies the Clean Water Act applies to, and even create exclusions where fish-bearing streams and wetlands that filter and improve water quality will not be regulated by EPA. He says he expects the conservation community will bring suit to stop the order, much like farm industry groups did to stop the Obama era EPA rule.