EPA to announce repeal of Obama-era clean water rule

13 Septembre, 2019, 10:10 | Auteur: Therese Cote
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The EPA will create a new rule to replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation, which was established in 2015. That rate began to slow after George H.W. Bush took the White House, pledging to stem the tide of wetlands loss. But Wajda and the Indiana Farm Bureau's Justin Schneider say WOTUS wasn't merely too strict, but too uncertain.

"We are really excited as this has been something we've wanted for quite some time", Kitty Block, president and chief executive, Humane Society of the United States, told The Times.

It was announced by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler at the National Manufacturers' Association's headquarters in Traverse City, Michigan.

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 health of even small water sources can be important for animals and water quality downstream, she says.

The new rule, which reverts standards back to the 1986 guidelines under the Clean Water Act, is likely to face a spate of legal challenges.

Indiana Senator Mike Braun and Representative Larry Bucshon, both Republicans, issued statements applauding the repeal.

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"The withdrawal rule has been very controversial, and is now nearly three years in the making", said Mark Ryan, a leading expert on the Clean Water Act who helped write the rule near the end of his 24-year career as a senior litigator for the EPA.

"The President's Dirty Water Rule will pollute and poison the clean drinking water of tens of millions of families and communities". 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.

"The so-called "Waters of the United States" regulation is a classic example of sweeping over-reach by non-elected federal bureaucrats", says Studley, "The Michigan Chamber doesn't object to reasonable regulations based on facts, sound science and the law".

Scott Edwards, the director of Food & Water Justice, said that his group plans to match or exceed the challenges the 2015 rule had seen since its adoption.

But Indra Frank with the Hoosier Environmental Council says the Obama-era rule was set up specifically because state regulations weren't protective enough. "This is shameful and risky", said Abigail Dillen, Earthjustice president. "The truth is that this is an illegal attempt to reinterpret the prior longstanding regulatory definition to eliminate anti-pollution requirements for rivers, streams, wetlands and other waters that have been in place since the 1970s".

The Trump administration has repealed a number of environmental regulations from the previous administration - in many cases, triggering lawsuits from conservation and environmental organizations. "I want to make sure that our regulations are grounded, that they have all the supporting information they need to be upheld by the courts".

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