“Are you my mother?” That’s the question asked, over and over again, by a baby bird whose mother is not present at his hatching. The baby leaves the nest to search for mom, having no idea what she looks like, and approaches several improbable candidates to ask the question that also serves as the title of P.D. Eastman’s famous children’s book: “Are You My Mother?”
Farmers and other property owners across this country have spent the past several years engaged in a similarly ridiculous interrogation of ruts, puddles and ditches: “Are you a body of water?” “Are you a navigable stream?”
Why would they ask such silly questions? Because they dared not not ask them. Because they knew that left-wing zealots working in the Environmental Protection Agency for the Obama Administration were likely to classify things that were clearly not bodies of water and navigable streams as just that – and penalize property owners for making alterations to their own property.
Happily, those days are gone, and with them the draconian interpretations and outrageous applications of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. But the rule itself remains, and that needs to change.
Four years ago, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, et al. persuaded a U.S. Court of Appeals to issue a stay preventing implementation of the WOTUS rule. Morrisey was later present when President Trump signed an executive order calling for review and rescission of the rule. He was also on hand late last year when acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a proposed change.
Morrisey is urging the Trump administration to adopt this proposal and replace the onerous existing rule.
“The proposed rule gives renewed certainty to farmers, landowners, and job creators,” Morrisey asserts. “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.”
Please, adopt the new rule. We’re tired of interrogating ruts, puddles and ditches.