Commentary: Congressman Steve Pearce today released the following statement after President Trump signed an Executive Order instructing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to review the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) Rule that would place small waters and creeks under the control of the federal government.
“Today’s Executive Order is a step in the right direction to rein in the EPA and cut the government red tape that is hurting landowners and job growth in New Mexico. The WOTUS Rule allows Washington bureaucrats to regulate small streams and natural and manmade ditches across lands owned by farmers, ranchers, and small businesses. This unlawful expansion of power by the Obama Administration will drive up costs for New Mexico landowners and will cost thousands of jobs. I am a strong advocate for the repeal this rule so we in New Mexico can get back to facilitating job growth throughout our communities. I’m pleased with the action taken today by the Administration to call for a responsible review of this Obama-era rule.”
Rep. Pearce has previously cosponsored legislation, and voted with a bipartisan majority, to block the controversial WOTUS Rule.
WOTUS allows the federal regulation of traditionally off-limits waters – non-navigable ponds, streams, and tributaries – by the EPA under the Clean Water Act. Today’s Executive Order does not repeal WOTUS but it does order a formal review of the rule as it defines “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. Multiple federal courts blocked the WOTUS rule from taking effect and eventually, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay.