Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Trump Removes Protections for Waterways, Aiding Developers
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 4 years ago on
January 23, 2020

Share

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is lifting protections for some of the nation’s millions of miles of streams, arroyos and wetlands, nearing completion on one of its most far-reaching environmental rollbacks.

“EPA and the Army are providing much needed regulatory certainty and predictability for American farmers, landowners and businesses to support the economy and accelerate critical infrastructure projects.”  EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler
The changes announced Thursday will scale back which waterways qualify for protection against pollution and development under the half-century-old Clean Water Act. President Donald Trump has made a priority of the rollback of clean-water protections from his first weeks in office. Trump says he is targeting federal rules and regulations that impose unnecessary burdens on businesses.
Chiefs of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the changes at a builders’ convention in Las Vegas.
“EPA and the Army are providing much needed regulatory certainty and predictability for American farmers, landowners and businesses to support the economy and accelerate critical infrastructure projects,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.
The changes had been sought by industry, developers and farmers, but opposed by environmental advocates and public health officials. They say the changes would make it harder to maintain a clean water supply for the American public and would threaten habitat and wildlife.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: AP’s earlier story follows below.


WASHINGTON  — The Trump administration appears ready to move ahead with its plan to remove protections for some of the nation’s millions of miles of streams, arroyos and wetlands, completing one of its most far-reaching environmental rollbacks.
The changes, promised by President Donald Trump in his first weeks in office, would sharply scale back the government’s interpretation of which waterways qualify for protection against pollution and development under the half-century-old Clean Water Act. Trump says he is targeting federal rules and regulations that impose unnecessary burdens on businesses.
An announcement on a final rule was expected as soon as Thursday.
The changes had been sought by industry, developers and farmers, but opposed by environmental advocates and public health officials. They say the changes would make it harder to maintain a clean water supply for the American public and would threaten habitat and wildlife.
The administration says the changes would allow farmers to plow their fields without fear of unintentionally straying over the banks of a federally protected dry creek, bog or ditch. But the government’s own figures show it is real estate developers and those in other nonfarm business sectors that take out the most permits for impinging on wetlands and waterways, and stand to reap the biggest regulatory and financial relief.
A draft version of the rule released earlier would end federal oversight for up to half of the nation’s wetlands, which provide buffers against flooding and climate change, and one-fifth of the country’s streams, the upstream sources of drinking water, environmental groups warned.
The rollback would be one of the most ambitious of the Trump administration”s wide-ranging cuts in federal protections on the environment and public health. While many rollback efforts have targeted regulations adopted under the Obama administration, the draft clean-water plan released earlier would lift federal protections for many waterways and wetlands that have stood for decades under the Clean Water Act.

Photo of President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention in Austin, Texas, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Trump Has Portrayed Farmers as the Main Beneficiaries of the Rollback

That includes protections for creek and river beds that run only in wet seasons or after rain or snow melt — the kind of so-called ephemeral and intermittent waterways that provide the majority of water for some dry states in the West. “That’’s a huge rollback from way before Obama, before Reagan,” said Blan Holman, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.
State officials in New Mexico have particular concerns given that the Rio Grande, which provides drinking water and irrigation supplies for millions of people in the Southwest and Mexico, depends largely on the types of intermittent streams, creeks and wetlands that could lose protection under the rule draft released earlier. The Rio Grande is one of North America’s longest rivers.
Jen Pelz, the rivers program director with the New Mexico-based environmental group WildEarth Guardians, said the Rio Grande would be hard hit.
“It defies common sense to leave unprotected the arteries of life to the desert Southwest,” Pelz said.
Trump has portrayed farmers — a highly valued constituency of the Republican Party and one popular with the public — as the main beneficiaries of the rollback. He claimed farmers gathered around him wept with gratitude when he signed an order for the rollback in February 2017.
The federal protections keeping polluters and developers out of waterways and wetlands were “one of the most ridiculous” of all regulations, he told a farmer convention in 2019.
“It was a total kill on you and other businesses,” Trump said at that time.
Environmental groups, public health organizations and others say it’s impossible to keep downstream lakes, rivers and water supplies clean unless upstream waters are also regulated federally. The targeted regulations also protect wildlife and their habitats.

DON'T MISS

From the Outhouse: 400-Meter Runner Goes From Locked in a Porta-Potty to the Olympics

DON'T MISS

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From Ex-Reality Star Josh Duggar

DON'T MISS

Fresno Investigation into Police Chief Balderrama Is Finished: Sources

DON'T MISS

Here’s What’s at Stake for Biden and Trump in This Week’s Presidential Debate

DON'T MISS

Stock Market Today: Most of Wall Street Rallies, Even as Nvidia Drags

DON'T MISS

California Gov. Gavin Newsom to Deliver State of the State Address on Tuesday

DON'T MISS

Russia Summons the American Ambassador Over a Deadly Attack That Moscow Says Used US-Made Missiles

DON'T MISS

Who Are the Winners and Losers in California’s Budget Deal?

DON'T MISS

Supreme Court Rejects COVID-19 Vaccine Appeals from Nonprofit Founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

DON'T MISS

Things to Know About the Gender-Affirming Care Case as the Supreme Court Prepares to Weigh In

UP NEXT

Fresno Police Will Target Dangerous Drivers on Saturday

UP NEXT

Still Need Your Landline? California Just Stopped AT&T from Pulling the Plug

UP NEXT

Newly Named Washington Post Editor Decides Not to Take Job After Backlash, Will Stay in Britain

UP NEXT

FDA OKs First Menthol E-Cigarettes, Citing Potential to Help Adult Smokers

UP NEXT

FBI Raids Several California Homes, Including Oakland Mayor’s

UP NEXT

Donald Sutherland, Iconic Actor of ‘M.A.S.H.’ and ‘Hunger Games,’ Dies at 88

UP NEXT

The Supreme Court Upholds a Tax on Foreign Income Over a Challenge Backed by Business Interests

UP NEXT

Mike Pence’s Foundation Launches a $10 Million Election-Year Campaign to Preserve Trump-Era Tax Cuts

UP NEXT

Biden Overtakes Trump in Fox News Poll Following Trump’s Conviction

UP NEXT

‘We Just Always Expect It to Work’: 911 Outage Shows System’s Perils

Here’s What’s at Stake for Biden and Trump in This Week’s Presidential Debate

1 hour ago

Stock Market Today: Most of Wall Street Rallies, Even as Nvidia Drags

1 hour ago

California Gov. Gavin Newsom to Deliver State of the State Address on Tuesday

1 hour ago

Russia Summons the American Ambassador Over a Deadly Attack That Moscow Says Used US-Made Missiles

1 hour ago

Who Are the Winners and Losers in California’s Budget Deal?

1 hour ago

Supreme Court Rejects COVID-19 Vaccine Appeals from Nonprofit Founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

1 hour ago

Things to Know About the Gender-Affirming Care Case as the Supreme Court Prepares to Weigh In

1 hour ago

Netanyahu Says He Won’t Agree to a Deal That Ends the War in Gaza, Testing the Latest Truce Proposal

2 hours ago

Funny Car Legend John Force, 75, Alert After Fiery Crash in Virginia

3 hours ago

Sonny Gray Allows 1 Hit in 7 Innings as Cardinals Sweep the Reeling Giants

3 hours ago

From the Outhouse: 400-Meter Runner Goes From Locked in a Porta-Potty to the Olympics

EUGENE — It was a classic case of going from the outhouse to the penthouse. Less than an hour before her semifinal at U.S. track trials, 400...

23 mins ago

23 mins ago

From the Outhouse: 400-Meter Runner Goes From Locked in a Porta-Potty to the Olympics

34 mins ago

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From Ex-Reality Star Josh Duggar

47 mins ago

Fresno Investigation into Police Chief Balderrama Is Finished: Sources

1 hour ago

Here’s What’s at Stake for Biden and Trump in This Week’s Presidential Debate

1 hour ago

Stock Market Today: Most of Wall Street Rallies, Even as Nvidia Drags

1 hour ago

California Gov. Gavin Newsom to Deliver State of the State Address on Tuesday

1 hour ago

Russia Summons the American Ambassador Over a Deadly Attack That Moscow Says Used US-Made Missiles

1 hour ago

Who Are the Winners and Losers in California’s Budget Deal?

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend