After years of legal and political battling, the Trump administration is nearing the final stage of undoing President Obama’s overzealous Waters of the United States rule.
A far more reasonable regulation known as the Clean Water Rule would take its place. Between Feb. 14 and April 15, the Environmental Protection Agency is taking comments on the new rule through its website.
The Clean Water Rule would continue our decadeslong commitment to clean water for all Americans. The new language keeps protections in place while clarifying and simplifying definitions. This will help citizens follow the law and keep our water clean.
One of the Obama-era WOTUS rule’s biggest faults was its ambiguity. The language was very technical and theoretical. In practice, it was so ambiguous and complicated that a farmer could not just look at the features of his or her land and determine if the rules applied.
But expert environmental evaluations and legal opinions are extremely costly and violating the WOTUS rule carried potential fines of $37,500 per day. Most farmers could not afford either option. This could lead to widespread uncertainty or lack of compliance by good people who want to follow the law.