President Obama and his administration have announced bold new executive actions that have left Republicans fuming by protecting 33% of the nation’s clean drinking water supply.
In a statement, President Obama said:
For more than 40 years, American families and businesses across the country have counted on the Clean Water Act to protect the streams and wetlands we rely on for our way of life – from recreation to public health to a growing economy. In recent years, however, court decisions have led to uncertainty and a need for clarification. One in three Americans now gets drinking water from streams lacking clear protection, and businesses and industries that depend on clean water face uncertainty and delay, which costs our economy every day. Too many of our waters have been left vulnerable to pollution. That’s why I called on the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clear up the confusion and uphold our basic duty to protect these vital resources.
Today, after extensive input from the American public, they’re doing just that – finalizing the Clean Water Rule to restore protection for the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of our nation’s water resources, without getting in the way of farming, ranching, or forestry. This rule will provide the clarity and certainty businesses and industry need about which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act, and it will ensure polluters who knowingly threaten our waters can be held accountable. My Administration has made historic commitments to clean water, from restoring iconic watersheds like the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes to preserving more than a thousand miles of rivers and other waters for future generations. With today’s rule, we take another step towards protecting the waters that belong to all of us.
Republicans are already losing their minds and calling the new administration rule a land grab. Speaker of the House John Boehner said, “The administration’s decree to unilaterally expand federal authority is a raw and tyrannical power grab that will crush jobs. House Members of both parties have joined more than 30 governors and government leaders to reject EPA’s disastrous WOTUS rule. These leaders know firsthand that the rule is being shoved down the throats of hardworking people with no input, and places landowners, small businesses, farmers, and manufacturers on the road to a regulatory and economic hell.”
Boehner’s statement is just one example of the outcry from Congressional Republicans. Republicans are trying to hide the issue. The new rule does not give the federal government possession of any land or waterways. What the new rule does do is give these waterways federal protections from corporate polluters.
EPA head Gina McCarthy debunked the Republican claims of a land grab, “It does not interfere with private property rights or address land use. It does not regulate any ditches unless they function as tributaries. It does not apply to groundwater or shallow subsurface water, copper tile drains or change policy on irrigation or water transfer.”
When Republicans claim that this rule is harming the economy, what they really mean is that these changes aren’t going to allow agribusiness and corporations to destroy the clean water supply for 33% of the country. Republicans are literally advocating for one-third of the country to potentially lose access to clean drinking water.
The action by President Obama and his administration was a bold, forward-thinking step that was designed to protect a key portion of the nation’s clean water supply.
Sorry Republicans, Obama isn’t coming for your land, but he is trying to make sure that you and your children have access to safe and clean drinking water.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association