Economists are disputing President Donald Trump administration’s justification of rescinding a 2015 law that protects U.S. waters, saying it is based on flawed analysis.
The Water Of The United States, (WOTUS) rule was imposed by President Barack Obama to further protect bodies of water. The law broadened the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers over U.S. waters — more than what the agencies had under the Clean Water Act.
However, Donald Trump and the EPA Chief Scott Pruitt have been adamant about repealing the rule. In the month of June, the administration submitted a proposal to rescind Water of the United States, limiting the extent of the Clean Air Act. According to analysis by some three economists, the Trump administration inappropriately overlooked wetlands values. The economists who mentioned of their findings this week, comes’ days before the Supreme Court holds a hearing that will decide on certain issues related to the rule.
On Thursday, an assessment was done by Kevin Boyle of Virginia Tech, Matthew Kotchen of Yale University and Kerry Smith of Arizona State University which was published in the journal Science.
Between the 2017 analysis and a similar analysis made in 2015 under the Obama administration, the biggest difference is the treatment of wetland benefits as unquantified, Boyle told International Business Times. The economists said the differences between the two analyses led to about a 90 percent drop in quantified benefits from the 2015 to the 2017 analysis.