Newhouse praises delay of water rule

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Fourth Congressional District Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, is praising a Trump administration decision to delay the implementation of a clean water rule by two years.

On Wednesday the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of the Army finalized a rule that added an applicability date to the 2015 Clean Water Rule. The Obama-era rule redefined the scope of where the Clean Water act applies and had an effective date of Aug. 28, 2015.

The rule itself expanded the definitions for wetlands and small waterways under the Clean Water Act, which was intended to reduce sources of pollution that are dumped into small tributaries of large lakes and rivers, according to the Associated Press. The Trump administration delayed the implementation of the rule for another two years.

“The Trump Administration’s decision to delay this onerous Obama-era regulation will give farmers and our agriculture community the certainty they deserve,” Newhouse stated.

“EPA is taking action to reduce confusion and provide certainty to America’s farmers and ranchers,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said. “The 2015 WOTUS rule developed by the Obama administration will not be applicable for the next two years, while we work through the process of providing long-term regulatory certainty across all 50 states about what waters are subject to federal regulation.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit halted implementation of the rule, but the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals does not have original jurisdiction to review the challenges. The SCOTUS ruled the Sixth Circuit does not have the authority to halt implementation of the rule and legal challenges to the rule should be heard and decided upon in federal district courts, according to the EPA. In February President Donald Trump issued an executive order that called for a review of the rule.

“This is the right step to take as the Administration continues to work to repeal WOTUS – which would have expanded federal control over waterways never intended to be covered by the Clean Water Act – once and for all,” Newhouse remarked. “We must continue to rein in a bloated bureaucracy and cut the rules, regulations, and red tape that threaten economic growth and private property.”

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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