Another Obama-era environmental regulation is likely finished. Under President Trump’s direction, the EPA, along with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is moving to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule that imposes stricter government regulation over major rivers, lakes, and even small streams and wetlands.
President Trump signed an executive order in February that instructed the agencies to either eliminate the rule or drastically rewrite it. The EPA and the agencies announced their moves toward repealing the WOTUS rule in order to start over with a new rulemaking process later down the line, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Overturning the 2015 WOTUS rule signals to small businesses that the agencies overstepped, and NFIB remains hopeful the eventual rule to replace it will provide clarity while adhering to the legal limits of the Clean Water Act.
The 2015 WOTUS rule identified new bodies of water that would be under federal jurisdiction, expanding government control over private property. Many business groups, led by NFIB, filed lawsuits to delay or rescind the WOTUS rule.
“The Waters of the U.S. rule is a massive expansion of the EPA’s power that would have imposed heavy compliance costs on small businesses and trigger a flood of lawsuits,” NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said in a statement.
Following NFIB’s extensive legal opposition, small business owners can be hopeful for a clearer definition of WOTUS.