KMALAND: Iowa Senators take to floor for Kavanaugh

Meanwhile, Senator Joni Ernst spoke in support of the nominee, saying she has long feared encroachment by government.

“I am especially impressed by Judge Kavanaugh’s interpretation of the Constitution as it applies to the ever-encroaching power of federal agencies,” said Ernst. “Even before the people of Iowa sent me to Washington, I was horrified by the impact of increasingly burdensome regulations imposed on hardworking men, women and businesses.”

Ernst pointed to the Waters of the U.S. Rule — or WOTUS — as an example of where the Supreme Court is needed to halt government overreach.

“Throughout his career as a highly respected legal scholar and a judge on the esteemed D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Kavanaugh has written critically of widening the scope of this already far-reaching deferential standard.”

Continue reading at KMAland…

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WASHINGTON EXAMINER: New EPA chief Andrew Wheeler is a ‘different person’ than scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt

Washington Examiner: Turning to policy, I am assuming your priorities are the big three that people know about: the Clean Power Plan, CAFE (fuel efficiency standards), and WOTUS (Waters of the U.S.)?

Wheeler: We are doing so much more than that. I would put WOTUS in there. I would put the Clean Power Plan in there. I would also put our Superfund reform efforts. I would also put what we are doing to implement the new TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act). Every one of our offices are really busy. It would be hard for me to point to what is the one or two things.

Of course, we are implementing President Trump’s agenda. President Trump made it very clear on the campaign that he wanted to repeal the Clean Power Plan, repeal WOTUS, and replace them with something that actually followed the letter of the law, and we are working to do that. And those are certainly two presidential priorities that we are doing.

Continue reading at Washington Examiner…

AGDAILY: Cattlemen: Supreme Court pick Kavanaugh could fix WOTUS

President Donald J. Trump’s announcement of his intent to nominate Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy is a step in the right direction according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

“President Trump’s nomination of Judge Kavanaugh presents an opportunity to solidify the conservative tilt of the U.S. Supreme Court. The retiring Justice Kennedy was long considered a ‘swing vote’ –he voted with the liberal wing of the Court almost as many times as he sided with the conservative Justices,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Environmental Counsel Scott Yager.

“Justice Kennedy, in fact, is partly to blame for the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) quagmire because he drafted his own opinion (creating the 4-1-4 split) and endorsed the ‘significant nexus’ test in the 2006 Rapanos decision. Replacing Justice Kennedy with a solidly conservative 5th vote will change the highest court in the land for many years to come and clears the path for a narrower WOTUS definition, as supported by the Trump Administration and NCBA, to be upheld by the Supreme Court.”

Continue reading at AgDaily…

USA TODAY: Opinion: Competitive Enterprise Institute President Myron Ebell: Andrew Wheeler keeps a low profile at the EPA, gets things done

Because he keeps a low profile, Wheeler gets things done. His skills are especially needed now. Efforts to undo the so-called Clean Power Plan and other energy-rationing rules, as well as the Waters of the U.S. rule, have been beset by glitches and delays. The EPA needs to get going because litigation threatens every deregulatory action.

On at least two major issues — involving greenhouse gas emissions and Alaska mining development — Wheeler may prove bolder than his predecessor. Let’s hope so.

Continue reading at USA Today…

Photo credit: Alex Edelman – AP

WNAX: Farm Group President Pleased EPA Administrator Wants Full Repeal Of Obama Era WOTUS

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has issued a proposal to clarify the administration’s intent of repealing the Obama era Waters of the U.S. rule. He says they’re proposing to permanently and completely repeal the 2015 WOTUS rule as they work on a new improved WOTUS definition. South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal is pleased the agency is moving in that direction.

He says the Obama era measure was a drastic overreach of federal powers and the measure itself was very problematic.

VanderWal says his group will be submitting comments on the new rule and will be very engaged in the process.

The administrator’s proposal will give more time for the public and industry to provide feedback on the EPA’s plan to roll back the previous administration’s water rule.

Continue reading at WNAX…

Photo credit: Staff – WNAX

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: EPA seeks to ‘clarify’ repeal of Obama puddle rule

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt issued a proposed rule on Friday to clarify the administration’s intent of repealing the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. rule, which is one of the pillars of Trump’s deregulation agenda.

“We are making it clear that we are proposing to permanently and completely repeal the 2015 WOTUS rule and keep the pre-2015 regulatory framework in place as we work on a new, improved WOTUS definition,” Pruitt said in a statement.

Friday’s proposal requests comment on the legal basis of the 2015 Obama-era WOTUS rule, which EPA and the Army Corps “believe has led to uncertainty and confusion across the country,” EPA said in a statement. EPA and Army Corps proposed the rule together.

The “supplemental proposal” on Friday would give more time for the public and industry to provide feedback on the administration’s plan to roll back the previous administration’s water rule.

The rule, commonly referred to as WOTUS, greatly expanded EPA’s jurisdiction over waterways by broadening the definition of navigable waters to include drainage ditches and livestock watering holes.

Continue reading at Washington Examiner…

INSIDE EPA: Supplemental EPA Proposal Aims To Bolster Case For CWA Rule’s Repeal

EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have released an overhauled proposal to withdraw the 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule that greatly expands on their legal arguments for abandoning the Obama administration’s signature water policy, a move that could help bolster the repeal to fend off expected legal challenges.

The supplemental proposal, which the agencies posted online June 29 ahead of publication in the Federal Register, will start a new 30-day public comment period on repealing the Obama-era jurisdiction rule. It goes far beyond the brief justification for scrapping the rule that the agencies offered in their original proposal a year earlier — adding legal and pragmatic reasons to support the move.

“[A]s a result of the agencies’ review and reconsideration of their statutory authority and in light of the court rulings against the 2015 Rule that have suggested that the agencies’ interpretation of the ‘significant nexus’ standard as applied in the 2015 Rule was expansive and does not comport with and accurately implement the limits on jurisdiction reflected in the CWA and decisions of the Supreme Court, the agencies are also concerned that the 2015 Rule lacks sufficient statutory basis,” the new proposal says.

EPA and the Corps say they now believe that their predecessors exceeded the scope of the landmark Supreme Court opinion the agencies used as the basis for the 2015 rule — that being Justice Anthony Kennedy’s concurrence in the 2006 4-4-1 case Rapanos, et ux., et al., v. United States, et al. Kennedy held that wetlands and tributaries with a “significant nexus” to downstream navigable waters can be jurisdictional under the CWA, but the new proposal makes a case that the Obama administration took that language far beyond Kennedy’s intent.

“The agencies also propose to conclude that the 2015 Rule exceeded the agencies’ authority under the CWA by adopting such an interpretation of Justice Kennedy’s ‘significant nexus’ standard articulated in Rapanos v. United States . . . as to be inconsistent with important aspects of that opinion and to cover waters outside the scope of the Act, even though that concurring opinion was identified as the basis for the significant nexus standard articulated in the 2015 Rule,” it says.

Continue reading at Inside EPA…

THE HILL: Trump administration looks to boost case to repeal Obama water rule

The Trump administration acted Friday to try to bolster its case to repeal the Obama administration’s controversial water pollution regulation.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers, which administer the Clean Water Act together, first proposed in July 2017 to repeal former President Obama’s Clean Water Rule.

Those agencies put out a “supplemental” notice Friday in which they double down on their previous assertions that the 2015 regulation created significant “uncertainty” and is incompatible with the law and Supreme Court precedent.

The Friday notice also seeks to clarify that the EPA and Army Corps are proposing to repeal the rule in its entirety, despite a separate action they later took to delay the implementation date of the rule.

The rule at issue, also dubbed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) was written by the Obama administration to clarify that the federal government has the power to protect small waterways like ponds and wetlands from pollution. Opponents, like EPA head Scott Pruitt, argue that it gives the government power over too much land.

“By issuing today’s supplemental proposal, we are responding to public feedback, expanding opportunities for comment, and providing clarity and transparency in the rulemaking process,” Pruitt said in a statement.

“We are making it clear that we are proposing to permanently and completely repeal the 2015 WOTUS rule and keep the pre-2015 regulatory framework in place as we work on a new, improved WOTUS definition.”

Continue reading at the The Hill…

INSIDE EPA: Kennedy Retirement Increases Odds Of High Court Backing EPA Rollbacks

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision to retire from the Supreme Court gives President Donald Trump the chance to nominate a replacement who could secure a strong 5-4 conservative majority of justices, increasing the odds that the court will uphold Trump’s roll-back of Obama EPA regulations and new policies that weaken agency rules.

In particular, Kennedy’s retirement could have a major impact on expected litigation over EPA’s pending rule to replace the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction policy, which was based on a test for jurisdiction Kennedy crafted in a 4-4-1 high court ruling from 2006. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has said he wants to repeal that rule and replace it, and is expected to rely on the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s narrower CWA test from the same ruling.

If Trump succeeds in replacing Kennedy with a replacement who gives the court a more reliable 5-4 conservative majority, it could also give the justices an opening to undo or pare back prior environmental rulings including its landmark opinion that EPA has authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases, and potentially to craft new rulings that either limit groups’ legal standing to sue federal agencies or otherwise restrict environmental cases.

Inside EPA: Kennedy Retirement Increases Odds Of High Court Backing EPA Rollbacks

THE DAILY CALLER: EPA Sends Its Repeal Of Obama’s WOTUS Rule To The White House

The process of undoing the Waters of the United States came closer to completion following the EPA’s announcement that it was sending the White House a scaled back version.

The Waters of the Untied States (WOTUS), one of former President Barack Obama’s signature environmental achievements, was immediately met with controversy when it was enacted in 2015. Critics cited ambiguity in the rule that opened the door for federal government overreach, among other issues. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — the attorney general of Oklahoma at the time — led a multi-state lawsuit against the sweeping water rule.

The fate of WOTUS was quickly considered for reform with the entrance of the Trump administration. President Donald Trump signed an executive order in February 2017 calling for review of the regulation. Pruitt announced he was working on repeal in June of that same year.

As a birthday gift to President Trump, Pruitt announced Thursday he was sending the White House a “more reasonable” WOTUS rule.

Continue reading at The Daily Caller…