Trump targets Obama-era water regulation in new executive order

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

It vastly expanded federal jurisdiction over state waters, ' said a Trump administration official in a briefing to reporters about Trump's impending order.

He also says the rule has been "a disaster".

The rule was created under the authority granted to the EPA by the 1972 Clean Water Act, and followed two Bush-era Supreme Court cases that created some confusion about how much the federal government could regulate activities around streams and other small bodies of water.

The rule meant to clarify what bodies of water were protected, according to the EPA, citing that 60 percent of the country's waterways and streams were vulnerable.

But as it has been with everything having anything to do with the Obama administration's legislation, regulations or rules, Trump slammed the Waters of the United States regulation during his campaign, calling it an example of federal overreach.

The executive order relates to the "waters of the United States" rule, which covers more than half of American bodies of water.

"For too long, we've been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry".

"The onerous WOTUS rule misses the mark by imposing excessive burdens on landowners, threatening to harm the economy, and costing us jobs".

Using the CRA to repeal WOTUS would also prevent a federal agency from issuing a similar rule in the future. Amid those concerns, a federal court in October 2015 stayed the rule after just a few months in effect.

As The New York Times points out, the order would have about the same weight as a phone call to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

Still, it could take well over a year for the directive to be carried out.

Trump's executive order will be the first to attack a major line item in Obama's environmental legacy (with the exception of the president's removal of blocks on several proposed oil pipelines). "Been a disaster", Trump said before putting pen to paper.

If the federal government shies away from meeting its Clean Water Act obligations then "we shall fight them", Jan Goldman-Carter, the National Wildlife Federation's senior manager and counsel on wetland water resources, said at a recent American Law Institute-Continuing Legal Education seminar on Environmental Law.

Buried in the tangle of lawsuits is the question of which court even has the authority to hear challenges to the rule.

Despite the Trump administration's strong opposition to the rule, reversing it is no easy matter, triggering a new, potentially lengthy, rule-making process. "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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