Press Release

Trump administration’s WOTUS revisions fail to deliver

Sacramento, California; December 11, 2018: In February 2017, President Trump issued an executive order instructing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army to revise the overly broad definition of “navigable waters” under the Waters of the United States rule.

The goal of Trump’s order was to protect ordinary Americans engaged in routine activities on their property from being treated like industrial polluters under the Clean Water Act. But today’s proposal fails to deliver on that promise.

The proposal takes the obvious step to clarify that roadside ditches are not federal commercial waterways. But it still regulates small, intermittent or seasonal drainages on private property, even when that property is far removed from navigable waters. It also regulates wetlands no matter how small or distant from actually navigable rivers and lakes.

“While this is an improvement from EPA’s unreasonable and illegal 2015 definition of navigable waters, it still falls well outside the Supreme Court’s plurality opinion defining the limits of Clean Water Act jurisdiction,” PLF Senior Attorney Tony Francois said. “Despite assurances that the new definition would clarify what is regulated, landowners will still face uncertainty, high consulting costs and aggressive assertions of jurisdiction from agency enforcers. Army and EPA bureaucrats still have far too much power to regulate private property, and they will continue to abuse that power without meaningful reforms.”

Case Commentary

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By James S. Burling

Weekly litigation report — January 19, 2019

Oral argument held again in Knick at the Supreme Courf

On January 16, the Supreme Court heard reargument in Knick v Scott Township, the case where Ms Knick sued the town after the town declared that the public could trespass on her property in order to search for some old stones, claimed to be colonial-era graves Ms Knick is seeking the right to sue in federal court The argument went well and the Justices understand our arguments We are cautiously optimistic that at least five justices will agree that landowners should be able to sue local government in federal court when the government takes private property For more, see

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By David J. Deerson

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By Kathy Hoekstra

Ms. Knick goes to Washington. Again.

When you first meet Rose Knick, you’re hard-pressed to find evidence that she could trigger a true property rights renaissance across the country. That was certainly the case for the … ›

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