On Wednesday, May 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized the Clean Water Rule – a revised rule the EPA claims will protect the nation’s water resources from pollution and degradation.
However, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, is calling the rule an EPA “regulatory overreach” that “represents a new level of absurdity by attempting to define ditches and ponds as part of the ‘navigable waters’ under the Clean Water Act.”
“It is clear this rule serves the sole purpose of enabling the federal government to regulate businesses and property owners on an increasingly granular level,” said Abbott in a written statement.
“The EPA’s action is contrary to multiple rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court limiting its jurisdiction, and represents yet another power grab by the Obama Administration seeking to impose heavy-handed regulations on every facet of the lives of Americans.”
Not everyone agrees with Abbott, though.
The Center for Rural Affairs believes the rule is a crucial step in clearing the regulatory waters and protecting the quality of America’s surface waters, the nation’s most vital natural resource.
“The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers did as promised, they considered the more than one million comments that they received on the rule, they addressed concerns, refined and improved the rule,” said John Crabtree of the Center for Rural Affairs.
“We are encouraged by the refinements and clarifications that EPA and the Army Corps have undertaken in this process, and encouraged to see better Clean Water Act enforcement poised to move forward.”
According to Crabtree, the revised rule ensures that surface water quality is protected under the Clean Water Act through a rule that is grounded in both law and science.
Crabtree says nearly one in three Americans get drinking water from streams that lacked clear protection before the Clean Water Rule. And healthy ecosystems provide more than drinking water, they provided wildlife habitat and places for fishing, swimming and paddling. Clean water is an economic driver for manufacturing, farming, ranching, tourism, recreation, and energy production.
“Perhaps most importantly, this rule was shaped, and improved, by public input,” Crabtree added. “EPA and the Army Corps asked Americans to weigh in on this rule, and over one million of them did so. That process will allow the rule to clear the regulatory waters, overcome the shrill hyperbole from organizations more interested in shilling for industry and industrial agriculture than in clean water, and get about the business of protecting the quality of America’s surface waters.”