Trump administration nixes Obama-era clean water protections

Trump administration nixes Obama-era clean water protections

In December Wheeler said the change "will result in significant cost savings" while protecting the nation's waterways and reducing "barriers to important economic and environmental projects".

But farmers and industry groups said the rule went too far, impeding their operations by extending the pollution restrictions to small, unnavigable waters - some of which appeared only after it had rained. The inclusion of ephemeral features also greatly expanded the scope of waters subject to the Clean Water Act, generally considered to be navigable waters and waters necessary for commerce.

The rule proposed by the previous administration would not add anything and it would only give litigious environmental groups the ability to bring citizen suits against farmers who are already working to improve and protect water quality.

The National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said the 2015 rule, which sought to clarify which wetlands and waterways were protected under the Clean Water Act, was "confusing and counterproductive". Farm and business groups have criticized WOTUS from its inception in 2015 as federal overreach, both in terms of how it was applied and whether the EPA had that power to begin with.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the 2015 rule had generated a greater sense of urgency among its membership than any other issue.

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"The President's Dirty Water Rule will pollute and poison the clean drinking water of tens of millions of families and communities". In February 2017, he issued an executive order directing the EPA to review the regulation in an effort to pave the way for what Trump called "the elimination of this very destructive and frightful rule".

NY farmers, Congressman Chris Collins and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applaud today's announcement that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The rule opens the door for more pollution and toxic waste dumping in rivers, streams and wetlands across the country without any study of the effects on endangered wildlife.

The repeal remedies the legal and procedural deficiencies of the 2015 Rule, addresses the extensive litigation surrounding it, and recodifies and restores a regulatory process that has been in place for years. It's been held up in court in some states since its induction four years ago.

"That's why I've fought hard to ensure we get Washington's hands out of Iowans' lives by scrapping Obama's burdensome rule", said a statement from U.S. Sen. "Trump's rule will be met with an equal amount of opposition and court challenges and attempts to strike it down". Even if the repeal and replacement efforts get challenged in courts, "they still mark it as a major victory", Southerland says.

Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of MI, where two disputes over federal wetlands permits led to the 2006 Supreme Court case, said Trump "has chose to weaken protections for our water and reward corporate polluters".