The Biden administration is taking a move to undo the Trump-era resetting of water regulations and is proposing a rule to restore the pre-Obama definition, which outlines which bodies of water it seeks to protect from pollution.
In a press release, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it had worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to return to the pre-Obama definition of “United States water”.
These bodies of water are the ones that are protected under the Clean Water Act, which makes it illegal to release pollutants into them without permits that can set limits and specifications for the acceptable pollution of the bodies of water.
the new suggestion notes that the ministry had already used the pre-Obama interpretation according to a judge in August cleared the Trump era rule. However, it is argued that the completion of the proposal is “important” as the Trump rule could return based on developments in the litigation.
The administration before announced his intention to return the decades of protective measures in July said there would be a two-pronged approach, first restoring pre-Obama water regulations and then re-defining it later.
Last year the Trump administration tabled a rule that both undermined the protection of the Obama era and withdrew some pre-Obama rules, including those for wetlands that had been in place for decades.
When this new proposal is finalized, it would restore the Obama protection that the Trump administration was seeking.
He argues that the Trump rule is “inconsistent” with the goals of the Clean Water Act.
In 2015, the Obama administration expanded protected waterways, including adding protection measures to bodies of water near rivers and lakes, as studies have shown they can hit larger bodies.
EPO administrator Michael ReganMichael ReganThe Biden administration is taking steps to reverse the rollback of Trump water regulations Biden, top officials spread out to promote the infrastructure package Energy & Environment – Beyond COP26 MORE said he has no plans to “literally” restore Obama-era rules and will seek a regulation that addresses concerns from environmentalists and agribusiness.
“Over the past few years, the only constant at WOTUS has been the whiplash-induced shift in how best to protect our waters in communities across America,” Regan said in a statement Thursday.
“Working with stakeholders across the country, we have heard overwhelming calls for a permanent definition of WOTUS that protects the environment and is based on the experience of those who manage our waters. Today’s action is moving our process towards a stronger rule that meets our shared priorities, ”he added.
The EPA’s move was rejected by the Republicans. The top GOP member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoThe Biden administration is taking steps to reverse the rollback of Trump water regulations Meghan: paid vacation is not about politics, “just a humanitarian issue” Hillicon Valley – USA strike back against Kaseya attackers MORE (W.Va) voiced concerns that the agency could ultimately go beyond the Obama administration in its second phase, saying the current proposal could be challenged in court.
“Based on today’s first step, the Biden EPA’s final ruling will most likely be challenged in court, and thus the cycle of uncertainty continues,” she said in a statement.
—Updated at 3:38 pm
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