Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BS (Bachelor of Science)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2018

Honors Major Advisor

John Solow

Thesis Mentor

Hennadige Thenuwara


In this paper, we will analyze the different approaches that the Obama administration and the Trump administration took when determining the costs and benefits of the Clean Water Rule (CWR). Our goal is to determine the priorities of each administration and the economic justifications behind those considerations. We will begin by outlining forecasted benefits from clarifying the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) determined by the Army Corp of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Next we will look at how the Obama administration used these findings to draft the rule, and the potential social benefits from the policy. We will conduct a similar review of the actions and priorities of the Trump administration, then compare the two analyses. Additionally, we will examine the Clean Water Rule from the perspective of the agricultural industry. This examination will include a detailed description of how this industry is impacted by the rule; we will specify what, if any, additional regulations or burdens are faced. From there, we will use a political analysis to offer an explanation for why farm lobby groups oppose the legislation. We will discuss the social costs and benefits of further regulation and present our own policy for regulation that we believe will adequately supplement or replace the Clean Water Rule and Clean Water Act (CWA). This policy will both protect the environment and preserve incentives to invest and produce. Finally, we will comment on the long-term feasibility of our policy alternative and further research that would be necessary to proceed with policy revisions.


Clean Water Rule, Clean Water Act

Total Pages

20 pages


Copyright © 2018 Katelyn Kelley and Kelsey Hopkins