Trump administration to roll back clean-water protection rule


By John Flesher | Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The Trump administration is revoking an Obama-era regulation that shielded many U.S. wetlands and streams from pollution but was opposed by developers and farmers who said it hurt economic development and infringed on property rights.

Even before the official announcement, scheduled for later Thursday, environmental groups blasted the administration’s action, the latest in a series of moves to roll back environmental protections put into place under former President Barack Obama.

The Waters of the United States rule being revoked defines which waterways are subject to federal regulation.

“This action officially ends an egregious power grab and sets the stage for a new rule that will provide much-needed regulatory certainty for farmers, home builders and property owners nationwide,” Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler and R.D. James, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, wrote in a column published Thursday by the Des Moines Register.

Since enactment of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the federal government has gone beyond protection of navigable waterways and their major tributaries to assert jurisdiction over “isolated ponds and channels that flow only after it rains,” the officials wrote.

“As the definition expanded, so too has Washington’s power over private property and the states’ traditional authority to regulate their land and water resources,” they said.

President Donald Trump had ordered the agencies to develop a replacement policy that has a more restrictive definition of protected wetlands and streams, leaving fewer subject to federal protection.

Environmentalists say the move would leave millions of Americans with less safe drinking water and allow damage of wetlands that prevent flooding, filter pollutants and provide habitat for a multitude of fish, waterfowl and other wildlife.

The Natural Resources Defense Council said the Trump administration’s action would be challenged in court.

“The Clean Water Rule represented solid science and smart …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

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