Obama’s legacy continues to crumble: Court declares intrusive ‘Waters of the United States’ environmental rule unconstitutional

By Jon Dougherty

(NationalSentinel) What Barack Obama buildeth, the Trump administration is systemically dismantling — while at the same time reimposing the rule of law and upholding our nation’s founding document.

U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood has ruled that the former president’s “Waters of the United States” rule, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, is an unconstitutional federal power grab.

Issued in 2015, the rule “abridged state sovereignty and constituted a federal grab of natural resources on an unprecedented scale,” Big League Politics reported, leading 10 states to sue the federal government.

Wood ruled on behalf of the states, noting that the rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Clean Water Act and was therefore unconstitutional.

“The court finds that both because of its combination with tributaries and the selection of over-broad geographic limits without showing a significant nexus, the adjacent waters definition in the WOTUS rule is unlawful under Justice Kennedy’s Rapanos opinion,” Wood wrote.



She also chastised the rule as violation of states’ rights under the 10th Amendment.

“Most importantly, that significant increase in jurisdiction takes land and water falling traditionally under the states’ authority and transfers them to federal authority,” she wrote.

“In light of this significant intrusion on traditional state authority, the CWA still contains the policy language of recognizing traditional state power in this area, and Congress has not made any clear or manifest statement to authorize intrusion into that traditional state power since Rapanos,” she added.

Wood suggested that the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA could tinker with the rule to make it more constitutionally palatable, but in the age of a regulations-cutting President Trump, that doesn’t seem likely.

Meanwhile, GOP senators have introduced a bill called the “Define WOTUS Act,” which would take power out of the hands of federal bureaucrats by defining the term through legislation.

“The Obama-era WOTUS rule threatened Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses by giving the federal government authority to regulate water on 97 percent of land in our state,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), who is a co-sponsor of the legislation with Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN).

“President Trump and his administration have taken tremendous steps to roll back this far-reaching regulation and provide for more certainty with a new, clearer definition of WOTUS. But it’s the job of Congress to make a new, reasonable definition permanent, and that’s what this bill does—it ensures more predictability and workability for Iowans for years to come,” she added.

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