TOPEKA – (February 28, 2017) − Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today released the following statement on President Donald Trump’s executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to formally reconsider the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule:
“The President’s Executive Order is the first step in repealing this overreaching regulation. This rule was designed to expand improperly the federal government’s regulation of private property far beyond what was authorized by Congress. We don’t need that sort of central planning. Repealing this regulation will restore a more traditional balance of power among states, local communities and property owners.”
Schmidt met earlier today with President Trump at the White House as part of a bipartisan delegation of state attorneys general. He said the President stressed his commitment in returning power from Washington to the states.
Today’s action is a step toward restoring state authority. Last December, Schmidt and a bipartisan group of 24 state attorneys general and two other state officials urged the incoming Trump administration to rescind the WOTUS Rule, which currently is blocked by a federal court order while states, including Kansas, challenge its legality. In blocking the rule, the federal court found that the states are likely to prevail in their legal challenge.
The WOTUS Rule would extend the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory reach into small waterways, ditches and ponds on Kansas farms, ranches and land developments. The rule would have significant consequences for homeowners, farmers and other entities by forcing them to navigate a complex federal bureaucracy and obtain costly permits in order to perform everyday tasks such as digging ditches, building fences or spraying fertilizers.
“Not all wisdom resides in Washington,” Schmidt said. “But the bureaucrats who wrote the ill-advised WOTUS Rule think it does.”