The More Things Change . . . . The Most Recent Clean Water Act Confusion

Only a few years in the past, earlier than the Trump Administration EPA revoked and changed the Obama Administration EPA’s rules figuring out the attain of the Clean Water Act, the Obama Administration EPA rules have been the legislation in half of america and the Clean Water Act itself because it had been interpreted by varied Federal Courts in addition to by EPA and the Military Corps of Engineers in steering memoranda, however not rules, was the legislation within the different half of america.

Why did we not have one Federal legislation that utilized from sea to shining sea?  As a result of some however not all Federal Courts had struck down the Obama Administration EPA’s rules which remained efficient besides the place Federal Judges had decided in any other case.

At the moment, we discover ourselves on the way in which to the identical state of affairs.  Two Federal Judges, in Arizona and New Mexico, have struck down the Trump Administration EPA’s rules.  Different Federal Judges, together with in my residence state of Massachusetts, haven’t.  And so, as one of many commenters on this Bloomberg Atmosphere article notes, confusion reigns with the attain of the Federal legislation relying on whether or not you reside in a state by which the Trump Administration EPA rules have been struck down. In the event you do, the attain of the Clean Water Act is about the identical because it was when the Obama Administration EPA rules have been struck down.  In the event you do not, the Trump Administration EPA rules are nonetheless the legislation.

Opposite to what a legislation professor on the College of California-Hastings is quoted as saying within the Bloomberg Atmosphere article, there isn’t any “Bush-era rule” to fall again on and rules aren’t repealed with a press assertion.  The place EPA’s rules have been struck down, there’s solely the statute to use. The place EPA’s rules haven’t been struck down, they continue to be the legislation whether or not or not EPA chooses to observe it until and till the Biden Administration EPA does to the Trump Administration EPA’s rules what the Trump Administration EPA did to the Obama Administration EPA’s rules and so forth and so forth and so forth.

When will Congress give us a Clean Water Act that applies in all fifty states?

Different authorized specialists say there’s no confusion in any respect, and that the Navigable Waters Safety Rule is, actually, sidelined in each state. The Bush-era rule applies nationwide as a result of the federal authorities has stated so, said Dave Owen, a law professor at the University of California-Hastings.

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