New evidence suggests that the Trump Administration’s proposal to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States rule that would limit the scope of the Clean Water Act inappropriately overlooks wetland related values.
In a 2017 government issued analysis, benefits to rescind the rule were found to be greater than costs, results conflict with a similar analysis made in 2015 under the Obama administration. The big difference is the 2017 analysis left wetlands related values unquantified, These differences led to an almost 90% drop in quantified benefits from the 2015 to the 2017 analysis. Excluding wetlands values obviously presents an incomplete picture.
How important is this?…The Supreme court will be holding a hearing that will decide selected issues related to WOTUS.
The 2015 report was put together by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, the 2017 report was also put together by these same groups. The 2015 report showed the wetlands benefits at up to $500million a year. The 2017 report excluded wetland values.
The 2017 analysis contained inconsistencies as wetland valuation studies were considered to old for inclusion while point source pollution studies published during the same time frame were not treated as too old, and were included.
A failure to consider available data on public attitudes regarding water quality protection that supports the credibility of the wetlands benefits in the 2015 analysis was also noted.
There are 10 recent studies that could be examined for wetland value estimates. Also, there is evidence showing that US public opinion on environmental protection remains strong.
The 2017 report seems to have lost some credibility.