The “Navigable Waters Protection Rule” — Candidate For Misnomer of the Year

Yesterday, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers finalized their revisions to the definition of Waters of the United States.  There’s nothing in here that everyone didn’t already know.  The agencies largely sidestepped the science and issued a rule based on a narrow reading of the permissible scope of the term “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act.  Time will tell whether the courts buy it, though I assume that the Vegas oddsmakers are giving the Administration a pretty good shot at prevailing.

To me, the most noticeable aspect of the final rule is that it now has a name: “The Navigable Waters Protection Rule.”  Since even the rule’s staunchest defenders couldn’t claim that the new rule is as protective as the Obama-era rule, there’s a certain amount of gall to this name.  Indeed, I think one could say that the gall here is completely unmitigated.

The use of Newspeak in the naming of statutes and regulations has a long history and probably predates George Orwell.  This is a pretty good example, though.  How about “The kinda, sorta, protective, as long as doesn’t offend any of our supporters, rule”?

If any readers want to suggest better names, please go right ahead.

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