Trump to direct rollback of Obama-era water rule Tuesday
Mar 01 2017
Trump railed against the rule during his campaign. "It has truly run amuck", the president said during a White House ceremony Tuesday afternoon.
WOTUS has been criticized for ambiguities that could allow for federal overreach concerning "any water that is in a 100- year floodplain and within 1,500 feet of another regulated water", according to a report from September 2016 by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
While 32 states and upward of 50 business, manufacturing and agriculture groups challenged the rule, seven states supported it and many environmental groups that largely back the rule challenged certain provisions in the rulemaking. Because the rule was finalized in 2015, the Trump administration will have to start the regulatory process from the beginning to remove it from the books.
". In the end, repealing the rule won't answer the underlying question: how far upstream federal protection extends", they wrote.
Trump, who can not simply repeal the entire rule with the stroke of a pen, declared Obama's policy "a massive power grab" and ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to formally review it.
Environmentalists and conservationists panned Tuesday's move and said it will lead to the degradation of water quality.
The Association of Clean Water Agencies, which represents state and interstate water pollution agencies, is waiting to see how the order will improve federal state relations that states such as Oklahoma said were frayed during the Obama administration.
The EPA under President Barack Obama said the rule protects waters that are next to rivers and lakes and their tributaries "because science shows that they impact downstream waters".
Property owners, meanwhile, will continue to grapple with the question of whether they need a Clean Water Act permit for activities on their land. "Is that too much to ask?"
The clean water rule was issued under the Clean Water Act of 1972. "It is a basic right of every American", the group's president, Chris Wood, said in a statement.
The new order comes the day after Trump hosted the presidents of historically black colleges at the White House - cramming 64 of them into the Oval Office for a meeting.
"President Trump's executive order to ditch the Waters of the USA rule is a welcome relief to farmers and ranchers across the country today".
"After working with North Dakota farmers and ranchers for years to stop this unworkable EPA rule, the president's action today shows our concerns have been heard loud and clear", Heitkamp said.
"An executive order purporting to roll back the rule is nothing more than a paper tweet - it will have no immediate legal effect", said Thaddeus Lightfoot, a Minneapolis-based attorney with law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP.