The micro-managerial legacy of Barack Obama will soon be gone with the wind – and the water.
Onerous environmental regulations establishing unnecessary, unrealistic, and unscientific standards for air and water quality are being blown and washed away by the new administration, and the results will be good for the economy and the environment.
For eight long years of ideological warfare many states have argued that rainwater runoff, ditches, and puddles are not bodies of water, much less navigable ones, and that federal bureaucrats have no right trying to define them as such so as to establish their authority over every inch of private property in this country.
Three years ago, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and AGs from other states persuaded the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati to issue a stay preventing the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from issuing their Waters of the United States rule with its absurdly broad, and ominous, interpretation of “navigable waters” and “bodies of water.”
Morrisey was on hand in the Oval Office last year when President Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA and the Corps to review the rule, prepare to rescind it, and suspend litigation regarding it.
Morrisey and his peers urged the rule-reviewers to define their terms properly and respect “the States’ traditional role as the primary regulators of land and water resources within their borders.”
Morrisey was also on the scene last week when acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a proposed change that “would replace the Obama EPA’s 2015 definition with one that respects the limits of the Clean Water Act and provides states and landowners the certainty they need to manage their natural resources and grow local economies.”
The old definition is water under the bridge. The new one is a breath of fresh air.