President’s Executive Order Could Free Up Millions of Acres of Developable Property in Michigan
By Beth Florkowski of Fausone Bohn, LLP posted in Environmental Law on Monday, March 6, 2017.
On February 28, 2017, President Trump released Executive Order 13778 which may have serious implications on current wetland regulations. The Order directly addresses the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the U.S. Rule, which was finalized by the Obama administration in May 2015.
The current rules expanded the EPA’s authority to regulate property when it is determined to be a regulated “wetland” under a broad definition of that term. President Trump’s order aims to restrict the definition of what is a regulated wetland. Currently, as discussed in previous posts, wetlands can encompass even the smallest ponds or ditches on an individual’s property – which can prevent or restrict a landowner from developing the land.
Assuming the President’s Order is put into full effect, a rule that was once attacked by oil and gas developers, farmers, pesticide and fertilizer makers, golf course owners, and essentially all real estate developers, could be thrown out and replaced with a rule in favor of developers. This could open up millions of acres of property to new developments. Michigan is unique not only for its vast water and wetland resources, but also because it is one of the few States which has taken over wetland regulation under an agreement with the federal government.