By Linda Gibson
A Republican congressman in Ohio has proposed a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would formalize the end of federal protection for small streams and wetlands nationwide.
Rep. Bob Latta of Bowling Green, probably without irony, dubbed it the “Withstanding Attempts to Encroach on Our Resources (WATER) Act.” The bill aims to codify a Trump Administration rollback of Obama-era rules that had protected small waterways under the Clean Water Act. If this is accomplished, reversing it would take another act of Congress.
In a press release of April 19, Latta called the Obama protections “overreach of federal regulators” into the rights of private property owners.
Indiana just passed a law that eliminates state protection of these same wetlands. Critics say up to 80 percent of the state’s wetlands now can be dredged, filled or discharged into without oversight. The remaining 20 percent are under federal protection. Latta’s bill would not change that.