CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading a 17-state coalition to support farmers and landowners by urging the Trump administration to adopt its proposed replacement of the Obama-era, Waters of the United States rule.
The coalition, in comments filed April 15, argued the Trump administration’s proposal would restore reasonable, predictable lines between waters subject to federal and state regulation.
“The proposed rule gives renewed certainty to farmers, landowners and job creators,” Morrisey said. “Its adoption will provide a sensible, predictable definition so that everyone knows when and if they are subject to the federal Clean Water Act.
"Such clarity will spur economic growth as job creators and developers can invest with certainty.”
Morrisey has fought against the Obama-era regulation since it was first issued in June 2015. In December, he was on hand when Trump’s then-acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the proposal.
Morrisey says the coalition believes the new rule will correct flaws within the 2015 regulation, which extended authority of the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers far beyond what Congress intended and the Constitution permits.
He says the Trump proposal also shows respect for the primary responsibility and right of states to regulate their own water resources.
Morrisey has led lawsuits challenging the Obama-era rule and related efforts by environmentalists to implement their radical agenda. His persistence helped win a stay that blocked enforcement of the rule in October 2015, which proved crucial in providing time for a new administration and reconsideration of the rule.
The 2015 WOTUS rule, if implemented, would have taken jurisdiction over natural resources from states and asserted federal authority over almost any body of water, including roadside ditches, short-lived streams and many other areas where water may flow once every 100 years.
Morrisey attended a White House ceremony in February 2017 when Trump directed EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review WOTUS, begin efforts to rescind the regulation and take appropriate steps in litigation.
Morrisey signed this week's letter with attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.