Administration plans to return nation to 1986 standards on water pollution

EPA to Begin Phasing Out Animal Testing and Funding Studies for More Humane Research Methods

The Iowa Farm Bureau asserted the rule gave the EPA authority over waters in 97 percent of the state's land mass.

In an announcement at the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Thursday announced the repeal of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rules the Obama administration finalized in 2015, and said the previous definition of areas protected under the Clean Water Act would be restored until the U.S. EPA comes up with a new definition this winter.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the 2015 rule had generated a greater sense of urgency among its membership than any other issue.

The Trump administration on Thursday is expected to complete the legal repeal of a major Obama-era clean water regulation, which had placed limits on polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands and water bodies.

Continuing its assault on rivers and clean water nationwide, the Trump administration today released its final rule repealing the Obama administration's Clean Water Rule. Americans deserve clean water and clear rules.

"The proposal's new, more precise definition would mean that farmers, landowners and businesses will spend less time and money determining whether they need a federal permit and more time upgrading aging infrastructure, building homes, creating jobs and growing crops to feed our families", Wheeler said.

Farmers, miners, developers, and oil and gas companies also weren't fans.

The repeal remedies the legal and procedural deficiencies of the 2015 Rule, addresses the extensive litigation surrounding it, and recodifies and restores a regulatory process that has been in place for years.


Suffered from certain procedural errors and a lack of adequate record support as it relates to the 2015 rule's distance-based limitations.

Environmental groups have said the Obama rule was necessary to protect drinking water sources at risk from agribusiness and industry.

The rule defined which waterways are subject to federal regulation.

Waters that the proposed rule would keep from federal regulations included most ditches, groundwater, stormwater control facilities and waste treatment systems.

But many environmental groups, including some local ones, have criticized the decision to repeal the rule. It's been held up in court in some states since its induction four years ago. The rule's critics and the Trump administration have said the rule amounted to government overreach because it allowed for expansive interpretation in what the federal agency could regulate, leading to scores of lawsuits with private property owners.

"In an unprecedented power grab, this rule handed federal bureaucrats authority to regulate nearly any water imaginable-creating unnecessary regulatory obstacles for everyone from farmers plowing their land to local governments building ditches for public safety to families building their homes", Bakst argued.

"Once again, this federal administration is attacking our nation's clean water defenses to help big polluters instead of protecting our families and communities", said Blan Holman, managing attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center's Charleston office. "This unsubstantiated action is illegal and will certainly be challenged in court".

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