On Tuesday, Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency announced it would roll back Obama-era rules that, under cover of the 1972 Clean Water Act, empowered federal bureaucrats to regulate virtually every puddle, pond and drainage ditch under the guise of protecting wetlands. The result was a morass of red tape that created a nightmare for farmers, developers and other property owners.
Consider John Duarte, a Northern California farmer who faced millions in fines after bureaucrats accused him of damaging wetland features on his property simply for tilling his own land. His farm wasn’t anywhere near a “navigable waterway” as typically understood. But Mr. Duarte — who settled the allegation in 2017 — became a target after the Obama administration “attempted a massive land grab by redefining tens of millions of acres as ‘waters of the U.S.’ subject to federal jurisdiction,” The Wall Street Journal noted Tuesday.
The heavy-handed expansion of the regulatory state was a hallmark of Barack Obama’s presidency — and the nation, under his presidency, had the economy to show for it.
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