Last week, the (Waters of the US) WOTUS comment period closed and there was still fairly widespread opposition to it in the industry blogosphere and both business groups and Republicans remain opposed. In fact, the House passed a bill preventing EPA from making changes to the WOTUS rule in September 2014 and, with the recent flip in the Senate, this bill looks like it stands little chance. Senator Inhofe (R-OK) has already called for EPA to withdraw its proposal.
The now-closed docket has registered a mind-boggling 492,000+ comments from the public. To put that in perspective, here's the public response from a few other recent "big ticket" EPA dockets:
- The Agricultural Worker Protection Standard Revisions registered 176,000+ comments. This is the first major revision to the standard in over 20 years and, similarly, there is a fair amount of opposition to the rule based on what appears to be a poorly done cost/benefit analysis.
- The EPA decision to register the choline salt of herbicide 2,4-D on crops engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D registered 417,000+ comments.
- EPA's "Clean Power Plan," which is arguably the most-opposed issue (by industry) currently stands at 1.25 MILLION comments and growing (docket closes on December 1).
So while folks are not as riled up regarding the WOTUS rule as they are regarding the emission standards for electricity generators, this is still a pretty major issue that is now in the hands of the GOP to resolve. Once the all-GOP Congress handles Keystone and the Clean Power Plan, it will turn its attention to other burdensome EPA regulations... WOTUS could be high on the secondary list.