Another ridiculous Obama-era legacy that the Trump administration is erasing.
The Trump administration is officially rolling back an Obama-era environmental rule that threatened farmers and other landowners with significant fines or jail time if they failed to comply with onerous regulations on waterways.
The Clean Water Rule, more commonly referred to as the “Waters of the US” rule or WOTUS, was finalized by the Obama administration in 2015. The rule attempted to clarify which waters were subject to the regulations of the Clean Water Act, but in many cases ended up confusing land owners even further.
For example, WOTUS is supposed to contain agricultural exemptions for farmers. But the federal government sued John Duarte for $2.8 million for plowing his field without a permit because he resided on seasonal wetlands.
In a 2016 case, 77 year old Navy veteran Joe Robertson was criminally prosecuted and served 18 months in prison because he dug ponds around his Montana home in the hopes of keeping wildfires at bay. The ponds were connected to a foot-wide “river,” so the EPA determined that Robertson had been digging too close to “navigable water” without a permit.