EPA Proposes Rescinding Clean Water Rule (Waters Of The U.S. Rule), Removing Smaller, Local Waterways From EPA Pollution Regulation
The 1972 Clean Water Act sets rules and regulations for “pollutant discharges into the waters of the United States.”
The Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States Rule, clarified the inclusion of “some 2 million miles of headwaters and streams that flow only part of the year — 60 percent of the river and stream miles in the Lower 48 states — plus 20 million acres of wetlands that aren’t directly connected to large waterways.”
31 states, 21 Senators, and 70 members of Congress sued the federal government over the Clean Water Rule, claiming it is an overreach of power by the federal government, which should not have jurisdiction over local tributaries that never cross state lines.
Scott Pruitt, then Attorney General of Oklahoma and currently the head of the EPA, participated in this lawsuit.
On February 28 2017 President Trump issued an Executive Order asking the EPA to review the Waters of the United States Rule, in an effort “to ensure that the Nation’s navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles of the Congress and the States under the Constitution.”
On June 27 2017 the EPA issued a proposed change to the Clean Water Rule to be the “same as the definition that existed prior to promulgation of the Clean Water Rule in 2015 and that has been in effect nationwide since the Clean Water Rule was stayed on October 9, 2016.” In other words, the EPA is proposing to remove all of the additional smaller and local waterways from EPA pollution regulation and oversight that were included under the Clean Water Rule.