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Politics Trump replaces key Obama-era water rule, limiting environmental protections for waterways

02:55  20 january  2020
02:55  20 january  2020 Source:   thehill.com

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The Obama rule was designed to limit pollution in about 60 percent of the nation’s bodies of The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, which worked together to write the original Obama water rule , are expected to issue a new, looser replacement regulation by the

The EPA proposed replacing the 2015 water rule in December after an executive order from President Donald Trump , who has criticized Key Points. The Trump administration on Thursday announced a legal repeal of a major Obama - era clean water regulation that limited the amount of pollution and

President Trump announced a major rollback to an Obama-era water rule on Sunday, a move the White House believes could pay dividends with the farm vote in this year's presidential election.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Trump replaces key Obama-era water rule, limiting environmental protections for waterways© WhiteHouse.gov Trump replaces key Obama-era water rule, limiting environmental protections for waterways

Speaking to the crowd at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference in Austin, Texas Trump said he would be scaling back the scope of waters that farmers, manufacturers and other industries must ensure are in compliance with EPA guidelines.

"I am proud to announce a plan to protect the water rights of American farmers and ranchers," Trump told the room to frequent applause, arguing it will "allow states to manage their water resources based on their own needs and based on what their farmers and ranchers want."

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The new Trump water rule will retain federal protections for those larger bodies of water , the rivers that drain into them, and wetlands that are directly adjacent Stripping away those protections would still allow pollution to seep into the nation’s broader waterways , he said. It would also make it easier

President Trump has called the Obama - era Waters of the U.S. rule a "massive power grab" due to environmental limits . The new rule would replace an Obama administration regulation, known as the " Waters of the United States" rule that expanded federal protections to smaller rivers and streams.

"Water is the lifeblood of agriculture and we will always protect your water supply," Trump added.

Trump's latest proposal replaces the Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS), crafted under the Obama administration, which expanded the types of waterways protected by federal law. The administration argued smaller bodies of water, even some seasonal ones caused by snowmelt, must be protected in order to stop pollution from reaching larger sources, including those used for drinking water.

But farmers and other groups have argued the law was too far-reaching, requiring grand efforts to protect relatively small bodies of water that run through their property, ultimately subjecting large swaths of land to federal oversight.

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3. Replaced the Obama - era Clean Power Plan, which would have set strict limits on carbon emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants, with a new version that 66. Proposed relaxing environmental protections for salmon and smelt in California’s Central Valley in order to free up water for farmers.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler talks to members of the news media after a news conference announcing the repeal of landmark Obama - era clean water The 2015 Waters of the United States rule defined the waterways subject to federal regulation.

Rolling back WOTUS could help Trump secure the farm vote - a group he views as a key part of his base but one that has been jeopardized by trade wars and an ethanol policy that has hurt many farmers' bottom lines.

But it will bring criticism from other groups, adding to Democratic arguments that Trump's policies have been devastating to the environment and are hurting air and water quality while contributing to climate change.

The EPA's independent Science Advisory Board reviewed Trump's proposal earlier this year, writing in a draft report that "aspects of the proposed rule are in conflict with established science... and the objectives of the Clean Water Act."

A diminished federal role would leave a greater share of water supervision to the states, many of which have cut budgets for their environmental regulators over the last decade.

"There is no question that President Trump is making millions of Americans vulnerable to polluted water with this action. This rollback was bought and paid for by the mining industry, and it will have significant consequences for states, who will shoulder a huge burden to protect drinking water from pollution," Ryan Richards, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, said in a statement.

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Environmental groups criticized the administration’s action, the latest in a series of moves to roll back environmental protections put into place under President Barack Obama . The 2015 Waters of the United States rule defined the waterways subject to federal regulation. Scrapping it “puts an end to

WASHINGTON ― The Trump administration on Tuesday unveiled its plan to replace an Obama - era rule that sought to safeguard drinking water for millions In particular, he took issue with reports that the rollback would remove federal protections for 60 percent of the nation’s streams, which he called

Sunday's proposal is the latest effort at rolling back WOTUS after the Trump administration in September scraped the prior definition of water, reverting waterway protections back to 1986 standards.

Environmentalists and attorneys general have argued the changes will gut the Clean Water Act as pollution from farming, manufacturing, and energy production leach into water with less supervision.

A coalition of 14 states already sued over the Trump administration's September portion of the roll back, arguing that returning the U.S. to the narrower 1986 standard ignores studies showing how small bodies of water, even seasonal snowmelt, connect with and impact larger bodies of water more typically targeted for regulation.

Trump's final rule is almost certain to spark legal challenges.

"Attorneys general across this nation will not stand by as the Trump administration seeks to reverse decades of progress we've made in fighting water pollution," New York Attorney General Letitia James said when the coalition first filed suit against the water definition finalized by the administration in September.

But those same changes have been championed by a number of industries.

"This new rule will provide much needed clarity and regulatory certainty for companies that site and build infrastructure that delivers essential energy to America's communities," American Gas Association president and CEO Karen Harbert said in a statement.

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