Previously, under the Obama administration in 2015, the US government though the EPA seized control over ponds, puddles, ditches, and seasonal streams everywhere--all waters in USA. They then used this as a bludgeon to beat down landowners and impose huge fines.
Thursday, a little heralded Trump administration total revision of the regulations for the Waters of the USA came into effect. In it, the EPA renounced control over water puddles, ponds, and ditches. This is a huge change towards freedom for landowners everywhere. If you have a gravel driveway and fill in puddles with gravel, you no longer have to fear the EPA hitting you with fines. Now if your State approves contruction of a pond on your land, the EPA cannot come along later and demand that you deconstruct it or face daily fines.
...freedom (at least partway to where we need to return to, goes into effect in 60 days)
Yesterday's regulation replaces the prior Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule issued by the Obama administration in 2015. The Obama-era rule was controversial from the get-go, with multiple Red states filing legal challenges claiming it exceeded the federal government's authority to regulate water pollution. A slew of federal court rulings stayed the implementation of the rule in over half the states.
The new rule released yesterday is intended to pare back the federal government's regulatory powers to something closer to what Congress intended when it passed the 1972 Clean Water Act.
"All states have their own protections for waters within their borders, and many regulate more broadly than the federal government," said Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Andy Wheeler at a homebuilding conference in Las Vegas today. Wheeler's department, alongside the Army Corp of Engineers, is responsible for writing and implementing the new clean water rule. "Our new rule recognizes this relationship and strikes the proper balance between Washington, D.C., and the states."
...Francois calls the new rules a "mixed bag," saying that they "properly remove physically isolated ponds and puddles from federal control" but still leave the EPA "in control of 'streams' that flow as little as a few days a year, in violation of the Clean Water Act and Supreme Court precedent."