OHIO AGNET: EPA’s Pruitt promises new definition of WOTUS to Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents

“WOTUS was not done the right way the first time. We are fixing it and making sure that you have clarity and as we go forward you are going to have a new definition this year,” Pruitt said. “This new definition will respect private property owners, it’s going to respect the role of the states and it will make sure that the Clean Water Act definition of Waters of the United States takes into consideration and understands it was never intended to be a puddle, it was never intended to be a dry creek bed and all of those things will be addressed with clarity and confidence so that you know where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. That’s coming in 2018.” Changes to the WOTUS rule will be the beginning of what the EPA is striving to achieve when it comes to changing the process of rule making altogether.

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Photo Credit: OCJ

THE HILL: Opinion: Former Rep. Tim Huelskamp and H. Sterling Burnett: Scott Pruitt is leading the EPA toward greatness

As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt fervently and effectively fought to protect Oklahomans against federal overreach and to defend sound energy and environmental policy. Pruitt successfully sued the EPA numerous times, including convincing the courts to place stays on the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Now that Pruitt has served a full year as EPA administrator, it is a good time to assess his accomplishments. Pruitt has redirected EPA’s efforts away from “ideological crusades,” making huge strides in returning the agency’s focus to the core functions assigned to it by Congress: working cooperatively with states to ensure the nation’s air, waters, and lands are cleaner.

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Photo Credit: Greg Nash

THE DAILY SIGNAL: Commentary: Daren Bakst: Congress Should Let Funds Evaporate for ‘Clean Water Rule’

The WOTUS Rule takes this federal overreach to a new level. For example, it would regulate certain man-made ditches and even regulate what most people would consider dry land. Congress should expressly prohibit funding for implementation and enforcement of the WOTUS Rule. While courts are likely to block enforcement of the rule, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals’ nationwide stay blocking the rule was recently lifted in response to the Supreme Court decision in National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense. To clarify, this Supreme Court decision focused on a technical procedural issue and in no way addressed the substance of the WOTUS Rule. As a result of the stay being lifted, Congress needs to take action to ensure that the rule is never enforced. Congress also needs to expressly require that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers issue a new rule to define what is meant by “waters of the United States.”

Continue reading at The Daily Signal…

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THE DES MOINES REGISTER: Opinion: Vice President Mike Pence: Tax cuts are working in Iowa

Our president has signed more laws cutting through red tape than any president in American history. We’ve eliminated 22 federal regulations for every one we’ve issued, and we’re rolling back the disastrous Waters of the United States mandate.

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THE CAPITAL PRESS: Editorial: EPA leader focuses on outcomes, not punishment

The agency has suspended the Waters of the United States regulations written under the Obama administration. The language of that rule would have extended regulation to isolated bodies of water that have a “significant nexus” with navigable waters of the United States. The rule was overly broad, and expanded the already considerable reach of the EPA and the Corps of Engineers.

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THE DAILY SIGNAL: The Weaponization of the EPA Is Over: An Exclusive Interview With Scott Pruitt

Pruitt: When you think about an EPA—armed, weaponized, if you will—like a rule like WOTUS, the Waters of the United States rule, that would take a puddle and turn into a lake. To take land use decisions away from farmers and ranchers and landowners across this country, and people think it was just farming and ranching. It was the building of subdivisions. It was really all land use decisions. I was in Utah last year meeting with some folks there that were building a subdivision, and there was an Army Corps of Engineers representative that was standing outside the subdivision with me, and he pointed to an ephemeral drainage ditch and he said, “Scott, that’s a water of the United States.” And I said, “Well, it’s not gonna be anymore.” That’s exactly the kind of attitude that drove the past administration. It was all about power. It wasn’t about outcomes necessarily. It was about power and picking winners and losers, and we’re getting that corrected.

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Photo Credit: Kevin Lamarque, Reuters, Newscom

OMAHA WORLD-HERALD: Nebraska Farm Bureau endorses Sen. Deb Fischer’s re-election bid

The political arm of the Nebraska Farm Bureau has thrown its support behind U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer in her bid for re-election. Mark McHargue, head of the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee, cited Fischer’s work on such things as encouraging the repeal of the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule, promoting trade deals favorable to Nebraska, and introducing a bipartisan bill to exempt farmers and ranchers from emissions reporting that Fischer said was intended to address industrial, not agricultural, pollution.

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THE QUINCY VALLEY POST-REGISTER: Column: Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA): Trump right to reverse federal overreach

I supported the Trump administration’s recent announcement to delay the implementation of WOTUS for two years as federal agencies go back to the drawing board on defining navigable waterways to give private property owners clarity and peace of mind. In defining the scope of the Clean Water Act, the Trump administration has been guided by the legal opinion of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who sought a restricted definition of navigable waterways. Justice Scalia argued that the Clean Water Rule should be applied more narrowly to “relatively permanent” waters and wetlands with a “continuous surface connection” to large rivers and streams.

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E&E NEWS: CLEAN WATER RULE: Trump admin wants Texas court as WOTUS battleground

The Department of Justice wants legal challenges related to the Obama-era Clean Water Rule to play out in a Texas court. The Trump administration, which recently finalized a suspension of the rule, asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York yesterday to move two lawsuits challenging that delay to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The Texas court is the preferred venue of industry groups and states opposing the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS, with three lawsuits against the regulation pending there. Litigants in those cases have asked for an injunction barring implementation of WOTUS, and a hearing has been set for Feb. 22 there. The administration says it only makes sense for the same court to hear legal challenges to both WOTUS and its two-year suspension.

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INDEPENDENT ENTERPRISE: Opinion: Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID): Progress in ending excessive federal regulations

Also, one of President Trump’s Executive Orders would undo the excessive 2015 “Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule” exerting federal control over nearly every stream, ditch, pond and puddle on state and local lands, as well as private property. I was involved in early efforts to block the precursor of the WOTUS Rule and have remained committed to stopping this federal power grab that infringes on private property rights, undermines state sovereignty and threatens the economy.

Continue reading at Independent-Enterprise…