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EPA Suspends Clean Water Rule

by Countable | 2.5.18

What’s the story?

President Donald Trump has formally suspended what he termed "one of the worst examples of federal regulation," the 2015 Clean Water Act.

Why does it matter?

The Obama-era Clean Water Act - also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) - expanded the Environmental Protection Agency’s "jurisdiction from large bodies of water, like the Mississippi River and Puget Sound, to smaller bodies that feed into them, like wetlands and estuaries," the Independent explained.

This regulation - an expansion of the 1972 Clean Water Act - sparked criticism from farmers and real estate developers, who found themselves accountable for runoff pollution in streams passing through their property.

"Today, E.P.A. is taking action to reduce confusion and provide certainty to America’s farmers and ranchers," Pruitt said in a statement. He continued:

"The 2015 WOTUS rule developed by the Obama administration will not be applicable for the next two years, while we work through the process of providing long-term regulatory certainty across all 50 states about what waters are subject to federal regulation."

Environmentalists decried the move and vowed to sue the Trump administration.

"The Clean Water Rule protects the bodies of water that feed the drinking water supply for one in three Americans," said Jon Devine, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. He added:

"E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt is racing the clock to deny protections for our public health and safety. It’s grossly irresponsible, and illegal—and we’ll challenge it in court."

What do you think?

Will suspending WOTUS "reduce confusion and provide certainty to America’s farmers and ranchers"? Or did the 2015 Clean Water Act provide “protections for our public health and safety”? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

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—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: Fotoillustrator / iStock)


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