Trump Administration Cuts Back Federal Protections for Streams and Wetlands
By Scott Neuman and Colin Dwyer.
The Environmental Protection Agency is dramatically reducing the amount of U.S. waterways that get federal protection under the Clean Water Act — a move that is welcomed by many farmers, builders and mining companies but is opposed even by the agency’s own science advisers.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who announced the repeal of an earlier Obama-era water rule in September, chose to make the long-anticipated announcement in Las Vegas, at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show.
“All states have their own protections for waters within their borders, and many regulate more broadly than the federal government,” Wheeler told reporters on a conference call before the announcement.
“Our new rule recognizes this relationship and strikes the proper balance between Washington, D.C., and the states,” he added. “And it clearly details which waters are subject to federal control under the Clean Water Act and, importantly, which waters falls solely under the states’ jurisdiction.”
The biggest change is a controversial move to roll back federal limits on pollution in wetlands and smaller waterways that were introduced less than five years ago by President Barack Obama.
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