November 2019 Vol. 74 No. 11


Trump Administration Drops Obama-Era Water Protection Rule

The Trump administration revoked 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.

The 2015 Waters of the United States rule defined the waterways subject to federal regulation. Scrapping it “puts an end to an egregious power grab, eliminates an ongoing patchwork of clean water regulations and restores a longstanding and familiar regulatory framework,” Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler said at a news conference.

Wheeler and R.D. James, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, signed the repeal document.

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 only flow
after it rains,” Wheeler said.

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

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