It’s developers, not farmers, who may see the biggest regulatory and financial relief from the Trump administration’s rollback of wetlands rules.
Farmers and farmland are already exempt from many wetlands regulations that the Trump administration wants to overturn. Instead, its real estate developers who take out more permits than farmers for projects related to wetlands, streams and creeks, according to the Associated Press.
A financial analysis the administration released last month shows that out of 248,688 federal permits issued from 2011 to 2015 for wetlands-related work, the government required developers to do some type of mitigation 990 times a year on average.
Other industries landed an average of 3,163 wetlands permits with extra mitigation required, and farmers made up just eight of those in a year on average.
The Trump administration’s proposal narrows the definition of what wetlands and streams can receive federal protection, changes enforcement of the 1972 Clean Water Act and scales back an Obama administration rule from 2015 about what waterways are protected. President Donald Trump signed an order directing the rollback in February 2017.
The rollback “could be a benefit to builders who will see some relief in terms of cost and time,” National Association of Home Builders spokeswoman Liz Thompson wrote in an email to the AP. “That said, builders will still be regulated and will still be the industry that pulls the largest number of 404 permits which are very costly.” [AP] – Eddie Small