The Biggest Power Grab of the EPA reversed – Trump gives rights back to landowners
How the Repealed Obama-era “WOTUS” Impacts Rural America
By Corine Gatti-Santillo (MOM on THE RIGHT) and (TLB) Media Director
President Donald Trump has repealed the Obama-era “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) definition in the Clean Water Act (CWA) by taking power away from Washington and giving it back to rural America.
The Obama plan to regulate wetlands went far beyond what the Clean Water Act allows. The confusion over what qualifies as “Waters of the United States” under the CWA has triggered endless “litigation and bedeviled farmers, ranchers, developers, home builders and others involved in natural resources-related businesses for years, Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research,” said. He praised the decision where farmers, ranchers, and the average landowner won’t have the government control their property and water because of WOTUS or the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as they are comparable.
President Trump did this administratively. Ideally, Congress would step in knowing that the ESA is not fulfilling the mission for which it was created, like WOTUS. The purpose was to recover species on the verge of extinction, or that’s what the American public was told since its start in 1973. Its record of recovering species is disturbing by standards of a government program.
“Over 1,600 were found to be threatened or endangered. Over 46 years, a grand total of 40 have been removed from the list. Only 20 were recovered, the other 20 were either extinct or put on the list by what is delicately referred to an error, meaning they were never endangered, to begin with, the American alligator being an example. The Endangered Species Act is counterproductive because of the way the law is written. It turns landowners and endangered species into enemies,” Cohen asserted.
A rancher, a fruit grower or a person earning a living by this method is subjected to severe land use controls making it difficult to farm unobstructed. When there is an endangered species on the land, the owner must put aside land as “critical habitat,” meaning the property can’t be used as the owner sees fit.
A regulatory system should be in place where there’s cooperation.
“The Trump Administration has undertaken numerous steps to reverse the current relationship and places the emphasis on recovering species as opposed to using the ESA as a land-use mechanism to stop ranching, farming, fracking or anything they don’t like,” Cohen said.
There was an effort in the late 90s’ to reform the ESA in Congress. It passed the House and died a slow death in the Senate. This is the first effort taken administratively to correct some of the mistakes. Bureaucrats expanded the interpretation of “critical habits.” They not only declared land for the species but expanded the species list. “What the Trump Administration has said here is with respect to the “critical habitat” that it must be habitat on which the species actually must reside at the time of listing. Not land or water for that matter that potentially could be space.”
Officials were assessing the need for habitats by using climate models, which are notorious for inaccuracies, as a criterion for recovery of the species.
The Obama Administration decided to greenlight a policy that expanded the “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS—under the CWA. This enabled the government to federally zone privately own land like ESA. The Obama plan to regulate wetlands surpassed what the CLA authorizes.
Owners would have to seek the EPA or the Corps of Engineers even if they wanted to add a stock pond or put a ditch on the property. The Washington bureaucrat deciding whether a farmer could put a ditch or stock pond on his farm would have been someone who had never set foot on the farmer’s property and who was accountable to absolutely no one.
President Trump chatting as he signs his Waters of the United States (WOTUS) executive order. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Trump’s repeal of WOTUS gives the rights back to the landowners. This was by far the biggest power grab of the EPA. The Obama rule was simply a blank check handed to federal bureaucrats to run roughshod over the private property rights of the people, particularly rural landowners. The Trump Administration has thrown that rule out…
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