The Trump administration Tuesday announced plans to scrap an Obama-era environmental rule that had been attacked as federal overreach by farmers and property-rights groups.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers said they would withdraw Obama’s 2015 “waters of the United States” — or WOTUS — regulation, which expanded the number of waterways covered by the federal Clean Water Act. The agencies described a withdrawal process as an interim step and promised a broader review of which waters should fall under federal jurisdiction.
“We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said, adding that the re-evaluation would be “thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”
The EPA and the Army Corps said dismantling the Obama rule would not change existing practices because the measure has been stayed by the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati in response to opponents’ lawsuits.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the move showed “the West has won in the battle over the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule.
“This regulation would have been a disaster for rural communities in the West and across the country, giving Washington near-total control over water resources,” Ryan added. “The livelihoods of American farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs were at stake.” full story