Friday, 20 October, 2017

Trump executive order targets clean water rule

President Trump is ordering the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to'review and consider an court opinion by the late Antonin Scalia that the Clean Water Act should only cover'permanent standing or continuously flowing bodies of water Trump orders review of Obama rule protecting wetlands and streams
Craig Ferguson | 01 March, 2017, 00:44

President Donald Trump Tuesday slammed the Waters of the United States rule as he signed an executive order calling for the EPA to re-evaluate regulations imposed by the Obama administration.

Trump is expected to sign an executive order February 28 that will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to begin the process of reviewing and rewriting the rule.

Surrounded by other foes of environmental regulation, including the newly confirmed EPA head Scott Pruitt, the president declared the 2015 law, also known as Waters of the United States, "a terrible, disgusting rule".

The official briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, despite the president's recent complaints about unnamed sources. "The WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal jurisdiction and control over private lands". The rule gives protection to 60 percent of the US's bodies of water, including wetlands.

Critics contend the rule crafted by the Obama administration could apply to ditches and small isolated bodies of water.

In a statement, American Farm Bureau president Zippy Duval, who's from Georgia, called Trump's order a "welcome relief to farmers and ranchers".

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"A few years ago the EPA decided that navigable waters can mean almost every puddle or every ditch on a farmer's land or anywhere else that they decide", Trump said as he signed the order.

Rather than waiting for the rule to snake through the court system in hopes of eventual Supreme Court defeat, the order indicates that Pruitt will likely ask a judge to pause the court proceedings while he and the EPA work on a replacement for the water rule. It also orders the Justice Department to request that federal courts place a hold on legal challenges to the rule while the review is underway, according to Reuters. In fact, 79 local officials and 234 businesses recently joined Environment America Research & Policy Center on amicus briefs in defense of the Rule in court.

Trump also signed an executive order on Tuesday billed by his administration as an effort to boost historically black colleges and universities, one day after the president gathered with representatives of 64 of the nation's 100 institutions known as HBCUs.

"Under the rule, the smallest pond or ditch could be declared a federal waterway", he said. Lightfoot said Trump could use Congress to fully block WOTUS if the courts lift the stay on the rule.

"After working with North Dakota farmers and ranchers for years to stop this unworkable EPA rule, the president's action today shows our concerns have been heard loud and clear", Heitkamp said. "Today's action is as much a beginning as an end, and there is much work to do to ensure that any revised rule is transparent and fair for Americas farmers and ranchers". "Nobody cares more about land and water than Nebraska's producers but nobody here at home voted for these absurd regulations", Sasse said in a statement.

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