EPA Region 2 Administrator Announces Water Rule Rollback

Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Administrator Peter Lopez

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler claimed repealing the rule was "at the top rated of the listing" of objects the administration wanted to roll back again, due to the fact it was an "egregious electric power seize".

At issue is the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, which expanded the types of waterways that can receive federal protections under the Clean Water Act.

The Obama-era rule had been in place in 22 states, the District of Columbia and US territories while the 1980s-era regulations were in place in 27 states.

The agencies plan to adopt a new rule by the end of the year that is expected to define protected waterways more narrowly than the Obama policy.

"This patchwork of two different Clean Water Act jurisdictional regulations is unsustainable", EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Thursday while announcing the repeal at the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group that lobbied against the 2015 WOTUS rule.

"The EPA is no longer in the business of safeguarding our resources and protecting us from pollution, but is openly working to advance the agenda of those who profit from fouling our water and threatening our health", he said. When the EPA announced in December that it would publish the new rule, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., warned that it would pollute drinking water.

The Environmental Protection Agency has scrapped a controversial Obama Administration rule on water regulation.

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The Congressional Western Caucus on Thursday released a statement criticizing the 2015 rule.

But environmental advocates are blasting the change, saying it removes protections for water supplies including wetlands and seasonal streams.

This repeal is step one of the administration's multi-faceted attack to decimate the Clean Water Act. Put simply, what goes up must come down, and so any impacts to headwater streams, wetlands and other bodies in a watershed will naturally aggregate and coalesce downstream.

Multiple environmental groups said they will file legal challenges to the planned repeal. Under the Obama rule, a piece of land with a low-lying feature that fills with water only after heavy rainstorms could have been considered a federal water if it eventually flowed into a navigable water, triggering federal permitting requirements. "The federal government needs to step up its efforts to protect our drinking water, not scale back the rules for polluters".

"The EPA is tossing out 50 years of peer-reviewed science and in doing so threatens to undermine the integrity of the Nation's waters that support fish and wildlife", said Doug Austen, executive director of the American Fisheries Society.

"The so-called "Waters of the United States" regulation is a classic example of sweeping over-reach by non-elected federal bureaucrats", says Studley, "The Michigan Chamber doesn't object to reasonable regulations based on facts, sound science and the law".

The regulation drew quick legal challenges.

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