This is the confluence of science and politics. The latest attempt to define how to protect the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), is actually the fifth decade of a debate over which waters the federal government should regulate. The Trump administration is seeking yet another rewrite of the rules with the stated goal of providing clarity and certainty for landowners and the regulated community. Opponents argue the proposed regulations are bad for environmental protection.
The Clean Water Act of 1972 (the act) has flowed through all three branches of the federal government. The Trump administration’s 2018 proposed rule released last year, would adjust wetland delineation lines drawn by the Obama administration which, in turn, had replaced George W. Bush administration guidelines. The repeated rewriting of the rules can be sourced to U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions in the 2000s.
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