President Donald Trump is making good on his campaign promise to reverse a key environmental achievement of former President Barack Obama.
Preliminary reports from The Washington Post and other media outlets indicated the order would instruct the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to “review and reconsider” the rule. Final language has not yet been released.
The rule, implemented in 2015, was intended to clarify which of the nation’s waterways should be protected under the federal jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. It includes streams, wetlands and other smaller waterways that collectively provide drinking water for an estimated 117 million people — one in three Americans, according to the EPA.
The rule has been tied up in courts, however, with some 31 states, businesses and agricultural groups characterizing it as federal government overreach that would cripple industry.
Another vocal critic of the rule has been EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma attorney general sued the EPA over the rule, claiming it was unconstitutional and burdensome to farmers, developers and property owners. Pruitt reiterated his opposition to the rule, citing it as an example of overregulation, during an address at the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend.
Despite the Trump administration’s strong opposition to the rule, reversing it is no easy matter, triggering a new, potentially lengthy, rule-making process.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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