The Obama Administration's Waters of the United States Rule of 2015 Expanded Federal Authority to keep Pollutants out of the Drinking Water of a Third of the U.S. Population. The Planned Rollback follows an Executive Order penned by Trump in February which called for a Review of the Regulation.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the US Army, has proposed scrapping the Rule in Order to Conduct a “Substantive Re-Evaluation” of which Rivers, Streams, Wetlands, and other Bodies of Water should be Protected by the Federal Government. “We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” said Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the EPA. Pruitt said the EPA would swiftly Redefine Clean Water Regulations in a “thoughtful, transparent and collaborative” way with other Agencies and the Public.
Green Groups, however, said the move Pandered to Fossil Fuel and Farming Interests and was part of an Agenda to Weaken clean Water Protections. “Once again, the Trump administration has agreed to do the bidding of the worst polluters in our country, and once again it’s putting the health of American families and communities at risk,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of Sierra Club. “We will fight this and every other attempt by polluters and the Trump administration to destroy our water resources.”
The Rule was meant to end years of Confusion over which Waterways were Federally Protected from Pollution, with the Clean Water Rule simply Designating “Navigable” Waters for Safeguards. The Obama Administration widened this Definition to include the Drinking Water of about 117 million Americans. But while the Rule was Applauded by Environmentalists for improving Drinking Water Protections and Aiding Wildlife that relies on Wetlands, it was Attacked by some Farmers and Golf Course Operators who claimed it hindered their ability to Manage their Land.
Trump has called the Rule “one of the worst examples of federal regulation” and a “massive power grab”. Signing his Order, the President said thousands of Jobs were at risk because “the EPA decided that navigable waters can mean nearly every puddle or every ditch on a farmer’s land or anyplace else that they decide”. While “puddles” aren’t mentioned in the Rule, the EPA does have greater latitude to Regulate under it. However, there is no evidence that the Regulation could result in the Loss of Thousands of Jobs.
The National Mining Association, another Opponent of the Rule and Representative of an Industry relentlessly backed by Trump, welcomed its impending Demise. “This sets in motion a welcome correction to a deeply problematic regulation that ignored the careful balance that Congress struck between federal and state water regulation and constitutional limits on federal authority,” said Hal Quinn, NMA President and Chief Executive.
The Clean Water Rule Reversal, which will now go through a Period of Public Comment ahead of a Final Decision, is the latest in a String of Regulations to be Paused or Scrapped by the Trump Administration. In recent months, the EPA has Wound Back Rules Curbing Vehicle Emissions, Toxic Waste from Power Plants, and Methane Leaks from Oil and Gas Drilling Operations.
Now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it plans to Scrap the Rule, which has been reviled by Farmers and Chemical Companies that say it Impedes Economic Growth. EPA Chief Scott Pruitt reportedly Met with the CEO of Dow Chemical just weeks before Dropping an Anticipated Ban on using the Pesticide Chlorpyrifos, that has been shown to Harm Children’s Brains, which is Manufactured by Dow, on Food. An EPA Review found that even Minuscule Amounts of the Pesticide could impact Fetus and Infant Brain Development.
The Pesticide Action Network and the Natural Resource Defense Council both Sued the EPA days after Pruitt's Decision. “President Trump and his EPA flouted court orders and EPA’s scientific findings that chlorpyrifos puts children, farmworkers, their families and many others at risk,” Patti Goldman, the Earthjustice Managing Attorney handling the Case, said in a Statement.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also called for the Pesticide to be taken Off the Market, sending a Letter to Pruitt on Tuesday saying they were “deeply alarmed” by his decision to allow the Pesticide to continue to be used.
NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker