Published: Fri, September 13, 2019
Science | By

EPA Makes Rollback Of Clean Water Rules Official, Repealing 2015 Protections

EPA Makes Rollback Of Clean Water Rules Official, Repealing 2015 Protections

To understand this week's move, we suggest you dive into our five-part series, "Waters of the United States", and the two episodes of the Bionic Planet podcast related to it.

The Environmental Protection Agency is set Thursday to announce the repeal of the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule that extended federal authority and protections to streams and wetlands, according to a source familiar with the details of the announcement.

"No regulation is ideal, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious", said Zippy Duvall, the president of the American Farm Bureau - which lobbied for the rule change.

But reversing older regulations, such as the Clean Water Rule, has proved more hard. Wheeler said it was taking longer than first anticipated to finalize the administration's new standards because staffers were conducting economic and scientific research to bolster the case for shrinking the federal government's authority over wetlands and streams. The rule opens the door for more pollution and toxic waste dumping in rivers, streams and wetlands across the country without any study of the effects on endangered wildlife.

NY farmers, Congressman Chris Collins and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applaud today's announcement that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.


In response to the EPA's action, Jon Devine, director of federal water policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, issued a statement saying, "This unsubstantiated action is illegal and will certainly be challenged in court".

Since enactment of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the federal government has gone beyond protection of navigable waterways and their major tributaries to assert jurisdiction over 'isolated ponds and channels that flow only after it rains, ' the officials wrote.

Farmers, miners, developers, and oil and gas companies also weren't fans. He adds that the 2015 rule had provoked 31 states to file complaints and petitions for legal review.

The Clean Water Act requires landowners to obtain federal permits before developing or polluting navigable waterways such as rivers and lakes. It's been held up in court in some states since its induction four years ago. The Rule clarifies these waters' status after years of uncertainty spawned by SWANCC and Rapanos, as well as the EPA and Corps' various policies and guidance adopted in the wake of those decisions. "Trump's rule will be met with an equal amount of opposition and court challenges and attempts to strike it down".

Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of MI, where two disputes over federal wetlands permits led to the 2006 Supreme Court case, said Trump "has chose to weaken protections for our water and reward corporate polluters". The executive order followed the legal view of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, which was not adopted by the Supreme Court.

Like this: