If Trump continues to roll back Obama-era policies and proposals, then historians may look back to the American presidency between the years 2008 to 2016 only to see a glaring omission. Trump seems fixed on completely eviscerating the legacy of former President Obama and there’s nothing Obama can do to save it.
Up next for President Trump: an Obama-era regulation on clean water, something Trump previously called a “massive power grab.”
Trump is not taking an eraser to the Obama-era regulation simply to remove his name from history books, but because property-rights activists and farmers have complained they are unable to use their own land because of the governmental burden.
“The Trump administration is on the verge of moving forward with a significant rollback of an Obama-era clean water regulation that has become a rallying cry for farmers and property-rights activists opposed to federal overreach,” USA Today reports.
The new rule would replace an Obama administration regulation, known as the “Waters of the United States” rule that sought to expand federal protections to smaller rivers and streams.
Environmental advocates say the proposed rule could remove pollution and development protections from most U.S. waterways. But opponents of the Obama-era WOTUS rule say it unduly prevents property owners from being able to fully use their land because the rule’s overly broad definition regulates ditches that temporarily flood as federally protected waterways.
According to the report, the step the EPA is now taking is long due from one of the first acts Trump took as president. In February 2017, Trump nixed the Obama rule via an executive order. In the order, Trump instructed the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to find a replacement approach.
Trump passionately addressed the issue of private property ownership and federal overreach throughout his 2016 presidential campaign. At the time, Trump said rural Americans were suffering at the hands of Washington D.C. politicians who were limiting “farming, construction, and other activities near federally regulated waters.”
As USA Today reports, this issue has judicially adjudicated several times, even reaching the U.S. Supreme Court on occasions. The nation’s highest court usually would side with property owners, against the federal government:
The Clean Water Act of 1972 makes it illegal to pollute “navigable” waters. Over the decades, disputes arose over the government’s changing definition of “navigable” with opponents complaining the definition was too broad.
Two Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 came down on the side of landowners, ruling that ponds at the bottom of a gravel pit and a marsh miles from any lake or river were not navigable and thus not subject to the act.
Under the 2015 rule, those waters could include, for example, anything within a 100-year floodplain or within 4,000 feet of a high-tide mark.