TOPEKA – (April 17, 2019) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt this week urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to adopt the agency’s new proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James, Schmidt and 16 other state attorneys general offered support for the new WOTUS rule, which would replace the existing 2015 WOTUS rule adopted under the Obama Administration. That rule sought to vastly expand the definition of “waters of the United States” to include ditches, ponds, and wetlands in order to more aggressively regulate private land use under authority of the federal Clean Water Act. Kansas and other states challenged the legality of the sweeping Obama-era rule, and federal courts have blocked its enforcement.
The Trump Administration’s proposed WOTUS rule, which would replace the previous rule, is “faithful to the Clean Water Act’s text and spirit of cooperative federalism” in the U.S. Constitution by restoring “reasonable, predictable lines between those waters subject to federal jurisdiction and those properly within the States’ regulatory sphere” and therefore should be adopted, the attorneys general said.
The proposed new rule addresses the legal concerns raised by Kansas and other states in their successful legal challenge.
“The old rule was an illegal power grab that exceeded the limited authority Congress has granted to federal agencies to regulate private property use,” Schmidt said. “The proposed new rule protects water quality while respecting those legal boundaries, which is why I favor it.”
A copy of the comment letter is available at http://bit.ly/2V4JHXk.