EPA, US Army move to rescind 2015 'Waters of the US' rule

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Tuesday the agency would repeal the Clean Water Rule, or the "waters of the United States" rule (WOTUS), which was finalized by the Obama administration in 2015. The agencies described a withdrawal process as an interim step and promised a broader review of which waters should fall under federal jurisdiction.

"We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers and businesses", said Administrator Scott Pruitt.

On Tuesday, the EPA, Department of Army and Army Corps of Engineers announced they are proposing a rule that rescinds the Clean Water Rule, a 2015 regulation that sought to clarify water resource management in the USA and attempted to define "waters of the United States", or WOTUS.

"This regulation would have been a disaster for rural communities in the West and across the country, giving Washington near-total control over water resources", Ryan added.

The debate over which waterways are covered under the Clean Water Act has dragged on for years and remains murky despite two Supreme Court rulings.

According to the Obama-era EPA, the proposed WOTUS definition would include all territorial seas, interstate waters and wetlands and all waters that are now being used - or which were used in the past or which may be susceptible for use in interstate or foreign commerce - including all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide. United States case. Under Scalia's view, only wetlands that have a relatively permanent, surface connection to a downstream water body that is "navigable in fact" can be protected under the Clean Water Act.

Clean water is vital to our ecology, our health and our quality of life. "Farmers and ranchers across this country are cheering EPA's proposal today to ditch its flawed Waters of the USA rule", Duvall said. Wicker also urged the new Republican administration to roll back WOTUS in 2016, and celebrated President Trump's executive action in February that led to today's announcement. The last thing we should do is weaken protections for our water.

The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972 and last amended in 1987, is meant to protect the nation's waters from pollution.

"We are thankful this administration is working to draw clear lines in terms of what is and what is not jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act", according to Texas farmer and National Corn Growers Association president Wesley Spurlock. The rule greatly expanded the role of the federal government, and its legality was repeatedly questioned, leading to a court-ordered suspension of the rule in 2015. Schmidt says the rule would have had significant consequences for homeowners, farmers and other entities by forcing them to navigate a complex federal bureaucracy and obtain costly permits in order to perform everyday tasks such as digging ditches, building fences or spraying fertilizers. In issuing its nationally applicable stay of the rule on October 9, 2015, the Sixth Circuit found that the rule's challengers had "a substantial likelihood of success" in proving the rule was illegal.

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