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EPA Repeals WOTUS Once and For All
USAgNet - 09/13/2019

The Trump administration on Thursday announced repeal of an Obama-era regulation that had expanded pollution protections for waterways such as wetlands and shallow streams, but that farmers, miners and manufacturers decried as overreach.

Reuters reports the widely anticipated move to repeal the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, known as WOTUS, is part of a broader effort by President Donald Trump to roll back environmental regulations to boost industry. Environmental groups called the move “shameful and dangerous.”

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said that the EPA and the U.S. Army would reinstate water rules that were issued in the 1980s, and would begin re-defining which waterways can be regulated, a task to be completed by this winter.

“Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2 – a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders and developers nationwide,” Wheeler said in a statement.

The rule had been in place in 22 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories while the 1980s-era regulations were in place in 27 states.

President Barack Obama’s Waters of the United States rule had defined which streams and wetlands are protected by the 1972 Clean Water Act from pollutants including pesticides, fertilizers and mine waste. Farmers and industry groups had said the rule went too far, impeding their operations by extending restrictions to small, un-navigable waters.

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