Trump Slams Obama's Waters Rule in Signing EPA Executive Order

As expected, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

"Farmers and ranchers have been calling for a common-sense approach to regulatory reform, and today the Trump administration responded to that call".

The new order specifically instructs the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to begin reviewing and revising the Waters of the US rule to "ensure it promotes economic growth and minimizes uncertainty", according to CNN.

Trump's decision sets in motion a slow-moving regulatory process aimed at rewriting the rule over the next several years. It is one of Trump's first major steps in dismantling Obama-era environmental protections. Most attorneys say they don't expect the Trump administration to back away from the Supreme Court case over the question of court venue because that same question will be debated if and when a new water rule is written. "It was a massive power grab".

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. In a separate lawsuit, on October 9, 2015, a divided federal appeals court stayed the rule's application nationwide.

Later Tuesday, Trump was expected to sign another executive order created to assist historically black colleges and universities.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt addressed a conservative summit on February 25, saying WOTUS "made puddles and dry creek beds across this country subject to the jurisdiction of Washington, D.C".

Trump says at a White House signing ceremony that the rule is one of the "worst examples of federal regulation" and that "it has truly run amok".

Trump was backed by just 8% of African Americans in November's election, and his administration's commitment to civil rights has been met with skepticism.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, which led the public opinion fight against the water rule, said it would have forced farmers to get expensive permits for common, day-to-day work like building fences, plowing fields, applying fertilizer and grazing cattle.

The rule "is grounded in science and the law so that our streams and wetlands can keep us healthy and safe, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and handsome places to recreate", Knodel said. 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. "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.

  • Eleanor Harrison