Winning: EPA Amends WOTUS to Not Apply to Puddles, Ditches

This modifies a 2015 Obama-era rule regulating all bodies of water as navigable water.

EPA Administrator Wheeler and his agency announced their intent to scale back the egregious tenets of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule—which regulates all bodies of water, including puddles and ditches, as subject to federal regulation. Today’s move would clarify federal authority under the Clean Water Act.

“Our proposal would replace the Obama EPA’s 2015 definition with one that respects the limits of the Clean Water Act and provides states and landowners the certainty they need to manage their natural resources and grow local economies,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “For the first time, we are clearly defining the difference between federally protected waterways and state protected waterways. Our simpler and clearer definition would help landowners understand whether a project on their property will require a federal permit or not, without spending thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals.”

“EPA and the Army together propose this new definition that provides a clear and predictable approach to regulating ‘waters of the United States.’ We focused on developing an implementable definition that balances local and national interests under the Clean Water Act,” said R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “I have heard from a wide range of stakeholders on Clean Water Act implementation challenges. This proposed definition provides a common-sense approach to managing our nation’s waters.”

The EPA’s press shop said today’s announcement would result in “significant cost savings, protect the nation’s navigable waters, help sustain economic growth, and reduce barriers to business development.”

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Secretary Ryan Zinke

@SecretaryZinke

Great work by @EPAAWheeler to correct regs. This will help a lot of communities and return power to the most local level.

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Rep. Steve Scalise

@SteveScalise

This new, revised rule restores sanity to the definition of ‘navigable waters’ & rolls back the extreme overreach we saw from the EPA under the last Administration, which sought to regulate all bodies of water, even ditches & puddles. Thanks @POTUS! https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-and-army-propose-new-waters-united-states-definition 

EPA and Army Propose New “Waters of the United States” Definition | US EPA

EPA News Release: EPA and Army Propose New “Waters of the United States” Definition

epa.gov

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Here’s how navigable waters will be defined under this administration going forward:

Under the agencies’ proposal, traditional navigable waters, tributaries to those waters, certain ditches, certain lakes and ponds, impoundments of jurisdictional waters, and wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters would be federally regulated. It also details what are not “waters of the United States,” such as features that only contain water during or in response to rainfall (e.g., ephemeral features); groundwater; many ditches, including most roadside or farm ditches; prior converted cropland; stormwater control features; and waste treatment systems.

This is a win for science and property rights.

EPA’s Scott Pruitt Revokes Clean Power Plan, Declares “The War on Coal is Over”

This morning in Kentucky, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt declared “the war on coal is over” when unveiling a new Trump administration move to revoke the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

Pruitt said no governmental agency “should ever use its authority” to “declare war on any sector of our economy.”

The EPA administrator’s announcement in Hazard, Kentucky, has a lot of symbolism: Whayne Supply, a company that sells coal mining supplies, was forced to lay off about 60 percent of its workers in years’ prior.

A review of the Clean Power Plan was announced back in April. The Clean Power Plan of 2015 promised to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. This was considered former President Obama’s hallmark environmental law. Now it is being dismantled for its apparent overreach and deliberate intention to kill the oil and gas industries in favor of more costly renewable energy sources.

The 2015 Clean Power Plan was unveiled as a 460-page rule  titled “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units.” This alone should make one skeptical of this very plan.

The League of Conservation Voters signaled their support for the hallmark plan, praising it for establishing “the first national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants—our nation’s single largest source of the pollution fueling climate change.”

Under Pruitt’s tenure at the EPA, the Trump administration announced its intention in June to withdraw from the Paris agreement–which signaled a good move by our nation. Pruitt has also won praise from Denver Post for his prompt response to compensate the victims of the Gold King Mine spill of 2015–which his predecessor neglected to address.

Pruitt is arguably one of Trump’s best hires to date. Despite members of the media and green mafia maligning him, he’s off to a good start in cleaning up the EPA.

EPA Cleaning Up Bloat in Department Left By Obama Administration

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s new administrator is cleaning house. It was announced today that the agency’s workforce will shrink to Reagan-era levels:

The EPA employs about 15,000 people.

After buyouts and retirements, that number could drop to 14,428 by October, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in an email.

 That would be below the fiscal 1988 level, when EPA staffing was 14,440, the official noted. A further 2,998 employees, or just over 20 percent of the total, are eligible to retire now, the official said.

It has been reported that 400 people have left the EPA since August 31, 2017. Earlier this year, President Trump recommended a 31% cut in funding for the agency. Here’s more from WSJ:

The voluntary buyouts were offered in June to more than 1,200 workers. Almost a third of those eligible took the buyout and, coupled with a dozen retirements on Aug. 31, the agency trimmed its staff by about 2.5% in less than a week. Several dozen more workers could retire or opt to take the buyout later this month, which would cut EPA’s total number of employees to almost 14,400 workers, the lowest since 1988. Two years ago it had more than 15,500 employees nationwide.

“We’re giving long-serving, hardworking employees the opportunity to retire early,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. “We’re proud to report that we’re reducing the size of government, protecting taxpayer dollars and staying true to our core mission of protecting the environment and American jobs.”

Pruitt has rolled back many of the egregious Obama era policies that hurt businesses and had little-to-no effect in improving the environment. Moreover, the new EPA administrator was instrumental in convincing President Trump to pull out of the unenforceable Paris Climate Accords.

Despite being lambasted by critics, Scott Pruitt is doing a great job cleaning up the mess left by his predecessor, Gina McCarthy. As I wrote here a few weeks back, even the Denver Post offered praise for Pruitt for his response to help compensate victims affected by the 2015 Gold Mine spill in Colorado:

The EPA employees who triggered the Gold King deluge were trying to help. They were working on privately owned property to help clean up historic contamination from decades of mining operations. Opening up the EPA for lawsuits in such situations sets a dangerous precedent.

But sometimes the government’s negligence is so egregious that hiding behind sovereign immunity — as the EPA did under President Barack Obama — becomes shameful.

A lot of people are giving Pruitt flack and not the benefit of the doubt. Let’s hope he can continue to reform the agency.

EPA’s Pruitt Praised By Major Paper For Cleaning Up Obama Era CO Mine Spill Mess




The Denver Post has published an op-ed praising new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt for his handling the Gold King Mine spillage in Colorado’s aftermath–particularly his efforts to pursue funding for damages for those affected by the 2015 spill.

If you recall, it was under the Obama administration’s EPA that 3 million gallons of toxic water contaminated the Animas River (which flows downstream to New Mexico). The previous administration cited sovereign immunity (meaning the federal government cannot be sued) and didn’t want to claim responsibility for $1.2 billion in damages. Now Pruitt is cleaning up the mess left by his predecessors by following through with his promise.



Here’s what Colorado’s foremost publication wrote on the subject:

The EPA employees who triggered the Gold King deluge were trying to help. They were working on privately owned property to help clean up historic contamination from decades of mining operations. Opening up the EPA for lawsuits in such situations sets a dangerous precedent.

But sometimes the government’s negligence is so egregious that hiding behind sovereign immunity — as the EPA did under President Barack Obama — becomes shameful.

My one issue with this article: why didn’t they see this gross negligence from the previous administration earlier? It was wholly apparent and clear who was responsible. Is it because Pruitt was deliberately mislabelled an enemy of the environment? Perhaps journalists shouldn’t jump to conclusions about true conservationists before they see them in action…

“I’ve already sent out a letter to all the claimants who have filed claims asking them to resubmit,” Pruitt told The Denver Post in a phone interview on August 4, 2017. “Some of those folks I’m sure I’ll meet today, and I’m looking forward to speaking with them directly. Farmers and ranchers, business owners, the recreational activities that occur on the Animas River — all were impacted, and from my perspective it was a wrong that we need to make right.”

After being labelled every bad name in the book for challenging the “green” orthodoxy with respect to environmental policy, Pruitt is actually working to move the EPA away from harmful preservationist policies.

For an administration that touted “clean energy” and “green initiatives” this malpractice and subsequent pollution in this Colorado river was the apex of EPA abuses during former President Obama’s tenure. How could observers forget stories involving EPA employees defecating in hallways, attempting to ban lead tackle and bullets, going after private property owners, and labelling all water sources navigable bodies of water, just to name a few? Here’s the takeaway: when agencies bloat to unmanageable heights, problems will ensue. This is why conservatives and libertarians are rightfully skeptical of accepting leftist environment policies and theories as fact, because they are hypocrites only after control.

Why does the government have to have complete wrest of the environment–especially putting in policies that hurt businesses and those who practice true conservation? People in the media need to give folks like EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt the benefit of the doubt and trust him to clean up and modernize his agency. And if the EPA goes away eventually? The only people to cry over such a loss will be the bureaucrats who taint environmental policy at the agency.

Thank you, Denver Post. Let’s hope more publications offer fair coverage of Pruitt’s EPA.

The Left’s War with Scott Pruitt




Scott Pruitt is the EPA Administrator, and he is inarguably the best EPA Administrator the nation has had since Neil Gorsuch’s mother was running the joint. Over the past eight years, the political left has used the EPA as a funding mechanism for its pet projects and allowed the activist left to both control its agenda and destroy its opponents.

What few people realize is that the EPA can require companies pay fines by writing checks to various “environmental” groups. The left has profited from this, and Scott Pruitt is curtailing the practice. That is chiefly why the left is angry at him, but they disguise it as climate change critiques. They genuinely dislike that he is hitting their pocketbooks.

But on global warming, some EPA “scientists” and other employees have been rushing out to denounce Pruitt and daring him to punish them. What the media has not reported is that a number of these people are long time leftwing activists deeply connected to the leftwing environmental movement. That they are targeting Pruitt is a sign he is doing his job effectively.



And what is his job? It is to ensure we have clean air and water while also allowing Americans to enjoy the nation’s natural resources. He is, unlike his immediate predecessor, balancing those missions instead of seeking to shut down American industry to protect minnows and snails. Administrator Pruitt’s world view is one where man is not seen as a net negative on the planet, while most environmentalists would be perfectly happy with the wholesale eradication of mankind from the planet, except for themselves.

The latest contretemps against Pruitt involves his audacity in calling for an actual, object review of climate science. He has proposed climate scientists who are skeptical of man made global warming be given a fair hearing. But the left is demanding consensus, which science does not really allow. Science calls for testing and duplication and more testing. The left, however, wants to bypass the testing, questioning, and more testing because they know they have concocted elaborate disaster scenarios that are not going to pan out. They also know they have a huge fortune at stake with federal grant money pinned to those disasters.

If Pruitt is allowed an honest review, he will no doubt find that there is some warming. What he will also no doubt find is that the left has long overstated both the extent of it and the required remedies for it.

Again, he will hit them in their pocket book, and they cannot stand that. Conservatives need to stand with Scott Pruitt. The left is good at concocting schemes and news hit jobs on their enemies. Pruitt is rising in rank as an enemy of the left, and we need to have his back.

VOX Writes 1st Trump/Pence 2020 Ad

You have to hand it to VOX. It’s not often you read a blistering hit piece on a department within the federal government, and actually walk away feeling better about life than before.

While not even close to being intellectually honest, VOX was able to articulate how horrendously the liberals believe the EPA has gone off the rails. Detail by excruciating detail. It was great. Even the title was uplifting: “Trump and Pruitt are the biggest threat to the EPA in its 47 years of existence” , and from there it only got better:

It’s been quite a week for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. On Thursday, we learned — thanks to reports in Climatewire and the New York Times — that he met with coal executives and lobbyists at a meeting of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and promised them “red team, blue team” exercises to evaluate climate science. It was a clear signal that Pruitt intends to take government-sanctioned climate skepticism to the next level.

Then there’s the wonderful detail VOX provided in an effort to prove their opening thesis. To wit: “Trump/Pruitt bad – Obama EPA good” But, and this is what was so fun, they only managed to provide clear outline for a Reelect Trump/Pence 2020 TV spot:

  • He claimed it was on course to better fulfill its “core” missions even while seeking 31 percent fewer funds, and a 25 percent smaller staff.

  • The proposed repeal of the Waters of the US rule.

  • We found that morale there has plummeted, anxiety is rife, science is being choked off, and much work has been paralyzed.

  • Our report, along with the news reports of Pruitt’s anti-science antics this week, confirms that Trump and Pruitt pose the biggest threat the EPA has faced in its 47 years of existence.

  • With single-minded, often secretive methods, he has led a charge to breakdown the agency’s mores and mission.

  • Pence joined Trump to declare the agency’s “war on coal” and its “attack on American industry” to be over.

  • The war on the EPA has been swift and brutal. The budget put forth by the White House for fiscal year 2018, which Pruitt defended before Congress, signaled an unmistakably hostile intent to those inside the agency.

  • EPA has been slated for single-year reductions broader and deeper than any put forth by the Reagan White House, and the largest for any major federal agency.

  • They target climate change programs and scientific research but also much more: 47 programs would be eliminated entirely and 50 to 90 percent slices taken from many others, across nearly every facet of EPA’s mission.

  • Get rid of two old rules for every new one, to review existing rules for “burdensomeness,” to reorganize with a view to downsizing

This alone is enough there to make any conservative’s heart go pitter-pat But wait, there’s more:

  • On all these fronts, the current assault on the agency is well on track to wreak greater havoc than Reagan did.
  • Today, with Republicans in control of Congress through 2018 and so many of them utterly hostile to the agency and its work,
  • Trump and Pruitt have every opportunity to deal the agency a more crippling blow. Many longtime employees told us think that’s precisely what will happen.

This is how VOX describes the federal government worker’s attitudes inside the EPA:

Pruitt’s secretive and closed-circle decision-making has exacerbated agency employees’ anxieties and disgruntlement. Even those staffers reluctant to criticize admit to disarray; frankly describe their office as in a state of “near paralysis.” Little wonder, then, that so many long-serving employees in Pruitt’s EPA report morale there to be lower than they’ve ever seen. Some have already resigned, in more or less vocal protest, and a new round of buy-out offers has many others contemplating leaving.

And without even realizing it, VOX’s conclusion is a better ending for the Trump/Pence TV spot than for themselves:

The “consensus” among many is that “at bottom,” the new leadership is “basically trying to destroy the place.” …It furthers a goal Pruitt reaffirmed at his hearing, of shrinking the agency’s workforce.

I don’t know about you, but this kind of article just makes the 4th of July holiday even better. I can’t decide to go find a cigarette or open the window and scream out “Yay!”

NEW: Trump Signs Energy Independence EO

Rolling back the draconian Obama climate agenda

President Trump signed an Energy Independence Executive Order on Tuesday, largely undoing the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which had yet to be implemented after being blocked by the Supreme Court in February 2016 until multiple legal challenges could be decided. In so doing, Trump was delivering on campaign promises that helped sway several coal-producing states his way in the general election.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt foreshadowed today’s EO on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos last Sunday:

“For too long, over the last several years, we have accepted a narrative that if you’re pro-growth, pro-jobs, you’re anti-environment; if you’re pro-environment, you’re anti-jobs or anti-growth. We can be both pro-jobs and pro-environment. And the executive order will address the past administration’s efforts to kill jobs across this country through the Clean Power Plan.”

Before he was appointed to the EPA, Pruitt was attorney general of Oklahoma, one of some two dozen states suing to do away with Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Tuesday’s EO also ended a coal leasing moratorium that had been in place for a year, strict regulations on methane emissions and fracking, and requirements to incorporate climate impact considerations into federal projects.

This Is Really Good For America

President Trump will speak to Congress Tuesday, and will unveil advisor Stephen Bannon’s plan to “deconstruct the administrative state.” The New York Times is reporting that Trump will outline a budget heavy on cuts to ensconced Deep State agencies like the State Department and the EPA–with Defense getting the boon.

I say “good.” And I think the majority of Americans will agree.

Those fat and happy bureaucrats in Washington and scattered field offices need to taste the axe for once. I’ve lived through three difficult Air Force BRACs. One closed Pease AFB in New Hampshire. Then I moved to Warner Robins, Georgia, where we’ve survived two more, not without injury. The former Warner Robins Air Logistics Center is now a mere “Air Logistics Complex” under Tinker AFB’s (Oklahoma City) budget.

Granted, the defense budget is loaded with its share of fat to be trimmed–up to $120 billion according to a recent study that the DoD tried to bury. But the EPA and State have, for the last 24 years, sat fat and happy.

When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, the EPA’s budget was $6.8 billion with 17,280 employees. In FY 2016, it was $8.1 billion, with only 15,376 employees, after peaking in FY 2010 with a whopping $10.2 billion. Since 2002, the State Department’s foreign affairs budget has ballooned from $8.2 billion to $11.2 billion in FY 2016. That doesn’t include foreign aid and military assistance.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of what benefits America more. I realize that this analysis is dependent on one’s worldview–some think rising oceans is an imminent threat and others think China’s soon-to-be missile-ready manmade islands are a bigger threat. But which gives America more options, globally-speaking: a well-functioning, efficient and ready military, or foreign service functionaries and SWAT teams for the EPA?

I’ve made my case that the EPA itself is a duplicative, liberal-issue-advocacy hive of socialist bureaucrats who have made its mission to discredit capitalism and shake down companies for the benefit of Greenpeace. The EPA should be shuttered, in my opinion, and no harm would be done. In fact, up to $353 billion in extortion money could be reinvested into the economy if the EPA no longer exercised gunpoint hegemony over every drop we drink, and every breath we take.

Give that cash to Elon Musk and he’d have us driving electric cars, storing solar energy in high efficiency batteries, and using hyperloops for intercity travel before half the EPA navel-gazers could retire on their federal pensions. I’m all for energy efficiency. I’m also for government efficiency.

As for the State Department, we’ve spent half the last 16 years fighting a war to liberate Iraqis from a cruel despot, and the other half throwing them under the boot of ISIS. We spent half eliminating the Taliban and its heroin-fueled terror operation from Afghanistan, and the other half apologizing to the Taliban while they continue to kill our soldiers.

The State Department has yielded few boons to America, because former President Obama let the liberal dogs run without a leash. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry chased the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov around the world like chided puppies, while Vladimir Putin amassed an enormous fortune robbed from his country (Trump respects Putin’s business savvy). Putin had his way in Crimea, Syria, and the Baltics. What did State do for America? Squeal about the oceans rising.

Trump has yet to fill 2,000 or so political appointments. Why should he bother? The country hasn’t collapsed. These “Schedule C” appointments make up the hydra head of the administrative state’s policy and regulatory machinery. If Trump is about to cut the agencies anyway, why fill the positions? He shouldn’t.

Last, the DoD needs a shave and a haircut, but not a budget cut. Defense procurement has become a game, and it needs to be a business. We need to build the best weapons systems in the world, the best logistics in the world, and create the best warfighters in the world. Old systems need to catch up on deferred maintenance.

The president’s plan, if it’s what the liberal-leaning New York Times thinks it is, will do much more for America–and get more citizens excited about our future–than all the doom-and-gloom predictions of the main stream media.

Remember, Trump won because he presented a better message–one that resonated with Americans. Though his approval rating might be terrible, people’s optimism about the nation has increased since he took office.

Trump’s budget plan speaks to the average American that the president cares more about their every day life than he cares about the government. This is the first time in a very long time that any president has delivered on his rhetoric.