Trump Administration to Drop Obama-Era Water Protection Rule

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The Trump administration is changing the definition of what qualifies as "waters of the United States", tossing out an Obama-era regulation that had enhanced protections for wetlands and smaller waterways.

The new rule would reduce the number of waterways the federal government can protect from pollution, as it seeks to appease industry groups and conservative lawmakers who criticized the regulations as a federal land grab that created uncertainty for industry and landowners.

Wheeler said that the EPA and the U.S. Army would reinstate water rules that were issued in the 1980s, and would begin re-defining which waterways can be regulated, a task to be completed by this winter. The second step of process is for the EPA to propose a replacement rule, which is expected before the end of this year. "It overstepped the limit of protecting clean water and tried to regulate land use".

Multiple environmental groups said they will file legal challenges to the planned repeal. "It doesn't settle the dispute".

A provocative allegation: "The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter". While the agencies have issued what they presumed to be clear definitions, courts have struggled to ascertain exactly how far Congress meant to extend the federal government's reach. "If there's not a rule, that's not helpful to the business community".

Jon Devine, the director of federal water policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a statement opposing the Trump administration's decision.

But critics say the rollback will speed the conversion of wetlands and headwaters, which provide critical habitat for wildlife and support the nation's drinking water supply. "This repeal will not go unchallenged".

For more than 46 years, the Clean Water Act has proved effective at making rivers, lakes, and streams safer for swimming, fishing, and drinking.

Glennon and Southerland agree that strategies to reach a final decision on the longstanding debate have not been working. Among the dozens already reversed: easing rules on practices such as curbing methane emissions from drilling operations and holding oil and gas companies responsible for killing birds that get ensnared in their rigs' waste pits. Courts prevented it from taking effect in parts of the U.S. Getting a yes or no ruling from the Supreme Court wouldn't satisfy all the stakeholders.

"I think at this point it's a disaster", she says. President Trump made a promise to farmers across the nation and I applaud him for keeping it by repealing these outrageous regulations.

"The Trump administration's wild-eyed attempts to reward polluters, however, knows no bounds, so it is repealing these important protections without regard for the law or sound science".

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