WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republican attorneys general opposed the Obama administration’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. They viewed it as a massive, federal seizure of authority over land traditionally regulated by the states. When President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order back in February — ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review the rule — they were relieved.
It turns out, the majority of Americans were also relieved. Recent polling from Morning Consult backs this notion up, as the majority of Americans support President Trump’s efforts to rewrite the rule. For his part, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has listened to voices outside the bubble of Washington, D.C. To date, the EPA has held more than a dozen listening sessions on WOTUS.
The Daily Caller News Foundation wrote about this recent polling:
A majority of Americans say President Donald Trump’s administration should work with Congress and local businesses to rewrite a former President Barack Obama-era “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, according to polling.
Morning Consult pollsters found that not only do most Americans see WOTUS as an example of government overreach, 58 percent agree the regulation “should be rewritten to provide a clear definition of navigable waters within limits set by Congress,” according to a polling report provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“An overwhelming majority (71%) say EPA should work with Congress and local business owners to draft a new rule that protects the environment and the economy,” Morning Consult pollsters wrote in a report for the Waters Advocacy Coalition.
The Waters Advocacy Coalition is made up of small businesses, farmers, ranchers and landowners opposed to the 2015 WOTUS rule. The group’s members are among those who bear the brunt of regulations on navigable waters.
Republicans called the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule a “tyrannical power grab” that extended federal control over waters not traditionally regulated by the government. They also argued it did little to remove uncertainty in the law.
Thirty-two states filed suit against the Obama administration — EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt joined the suit while attorney general of Oklahoma. A federal judge in North Dakota issued a stay against WOTUS in August 2015, suggesting there could be legal issues with the rule.
“Voters trust farmers, ranchers and small business owners more than environmental groups or the EPA to act in best interest of the American people,” Morning Consult wrote in their report.
Polling also found that nearly half of Americans, 46 percent, thought environmental activists were “dishonest” in their attempts to paint WOTUS opponents, including farmers and ranchers, as “in favor of dirty or contaminated water.”
EPA is expected to reveal its proposal to revise WOTUS in December. The final rule is expected to be released sometime in 2018.
Read the full article here.