President Donald J. Trump took action this week to protect businesses from the harmful effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s expanded Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition. The White House issued an executive order directing federal agencies to reopen the rule for public comment and, ultimately, either rescission or revision.
In 2015, the agency, without any action by Congress, “discovered” new authority in the decades-old Clean Water Act and sought to bring vast amounts of land in the United States under federal jurisdiction. Economic development and commercial activities involving WOTUS receive burdensome, far-reaching scrutiny from the federal government that often makes these projects impossible. The federal government has previously acted to define WOTUS in ways later found impermissible by the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce worked to raise awareness of the new definition’s potential to bring economic devastation to Ohio and supported others, including Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, in opposing the US EPA’s power grab. The Ohio Chamber appreciates the action taken by the current administration to restore proper federalism to environmental protection and will continue to advocate for Ohio businesses as the agencies begin their review of the rule.