President Donald Trump signed another executive order on Tuesday, this time setting his sights on rolling back an Obama Administration regulation that gave the federal government the power to clarify which streams and wetlands fall under federal clean water protections.
President Trump's executive order to ditch the Waters of the US rule is a welcome relief to farmers and ranchers across the country today.
President Trump on Tuesday issued an executive order that will start to rollback clean water rules.
"Water is life, and Trump's dirty water order puts our environment and millions of American lives at risk so that polluters can profit from the destruction of our waterways", said Marissa Knodel, oceans campaigner with the group Friends of the Earth (FOE). "The WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal jurisdiction and control over private lands".
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Proponents of the rule said it would protect streams and wetlands by more clearly defining which ones were protected.
The executive order provides direction to EPA and the Corps to reconsider the rule that dramatically extended the areas in which home builders are required to get permits, blatantly usurping state and local regulatory authority.
On Tuesday afternoon, Trump was surrounded by farmers, housing developers and county commissioners in the Roosevelt Room as he signed the order.
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Outdoor recreation and environmental groups, however, said the new federal protections were essential in order to safeguard both public drinking water supplies as well as the terrain that sustained an array of waterfowl, fish and other species.
The WOTUS rule was meant to reduce the number of punitive suits filed against anyone intending to pollute a waterway, by making it so companies must first apply for an EPA permit to do so. Lightfoot said Trump could use Congress to fully block WOTUS if the courts lift the stay on the rule. "Today's action signals that the Trump Administration recognizes we need to go back and rethink the entire process that led us to this point". "Today's action is as much a beginning as an end, and there is much work to do to ensure that any revised rule is transparent and fair for Americas farmers and ranchers".
Withdrawing or weakening the water rule will "likely leave regulators interpreting case-by-case" whether certain waterways are covered under the Clean Water Act and leave "land and water owners guessing about what they can do with their resources", according to the post by Colorado Water Institute Director Reagan Waskom and CSU senior research scientist and scholar professor David J. Cooper.
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