Sept. 12 (UPI) — The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it will repeal an Obama-era clean water regulation protecting waterways and wetlands.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the repeal of the Waters of the United States rule while speaking at the National Association of Manufacturers, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group that has lobbied against the regulation.
The rule, put in place in 2015, defined which bodies of water are protected under the federal Clean Water Act.
Repealing the measure will limit the number of waterways the government can protect from pollution and chemicals.
Wheeler said repealing the rule was high on the agency’s list of priorities, describing it as an “egregious power grab.”
“Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2 — a new [Water of the United States] definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, homebuilders and developers nationwide,” he said.
Multiple environmental groups said they will file legal challenges to the planned repeal.
“It has now been four years of constant litigation since the 2015 rule came out,” said Scott Edwards, director of Food & Water Justice. “Trump’s rule will be met with an equal amount of opposition and court challenges and attempts to strike it down.”