President Donald Trump‘s recent executive order calling for a review of a rule protecting small bodies of water from pollution and development is strongly supported by golf course owners who are wary of being forced into expensive cleanups on their fairways.
It just so happens that Trump’s business holdings include a dozen golf courses in the United States, and critics say his executive order is par for the course: yet another unseemly conflict of interest that would result in a benefit to Trump properties if it goes through.
“This conflict is disturbing and his failure to completely step away from his business raises questions about his White House actions,” said Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight.
Trump’s order targets a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule — released under former President Barack Obama in 2015 — that designates many smaller creeks and wetlands as protected under the Clean Water Act of 1972. Environmentalists, and some hunting and fishing groups, say keeping those humble waterways intact and clean is essential to the larger downstream waters they feed.
Golf course owners like Trump oppose the Obama rules, arguing that water features on golf courses would be covered and thus subjected to costly controls and possible fines for violating pollution limits. Among the 17 golf courses Trump owns around the world, three are in Florida. He also owns golf properties in Scotland, Ireland, California and North Carolina.
Trump had railed against the Obama rule during his campaign, slamming it as an example of federal overreach. In signing the executive order on Feb. 28, Trump derided the Obama rule as a “very destructive and horrible rule” and an example of federal regulation that “has truly run amok.”
Bob Helland, a lobbyist for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, said there are more than 161,000 acres of