The “Clean Water Rule” Is About Federal Authority, Not Water
In late Februrary, President Trump signed an executive order to reconsider the Clean Water Rule, commonly known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Some claim the rule is needed to ensure water quality. On a closer look, the WOTUS rule has less to do with clean water and more to do with asserting federal authority over private land use.
The Clean Water Act of 1972 prohibits polluting the “navigable waters of the United States.” For decades, debate has raged over what is—and what isn’t —meant by “navigable.” The law does not provide a precise definition.
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