Cassidy applauds Trump's order to eliminate Obama-era environmental rule


The president's move marked the first step toward fulfilling his pledge on the campaign trail to roll back Obama-era regulations, which include a 2015 rule created to curb the flow of pollution into major bodies of water, wetlands and ponds by expanding the requirement of permits to pursue any actions that might cause them harm.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy today cheered President Donald Trump's signing of an executive order requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to review and amend an Obama-era environmental rule known as the "Waters of the U.S." rule, which critics say gave the federal government too much power to regulate the nation's waterways. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the US rule. Actually taking the rule off the books could take months or years. Those rulings brought into question whether the federal government had authority to regulate the more than 60 percent of US streams and headwaters that don't flow year round, as well as other water sources like wetlands.

Supporters of the Clean Water rule, like Kelly, say the law was instituted to protect drinking water and to advance the national goal of making all water In the United States "fishable, swimmable and drinkable". It includes streams, wetlands and other smaller waterways that collectively provide drinking water for an estimated 117 million people - one in three Americans, according to the EPA.

WOTUS, which was finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2015 to clarify which bodies of water are covered by the Clean Water Act, has been a concern for agriculture since its passage because it broadened what bodies of water fell under EPA jurisdiction.

The rule has been tied up in courts, however, with some 31 states, businesses and agricultural groups characterizing it as federal government overreach that would cripple industry.

The move is the first of several environmental directives expected from the Trump administration in coming days.

Lawyers and policymakers agree that any proposed rule that the agencies issue would face opposition and would probably be subject to legal challenges, Miano said.

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 lovely places to recreate", Knodel said.

Accounting for about three-fifths of all American waterways, the rule granted the EPA authority over a broad swath of the USA rivers, lakes, and ponds, and limited how many of those were eligible for individual case-by-case analyses.

Trump said the law meant that regulators had jurisdiction over puddles and ditches, but activists say this wasn't allowed under the rule.