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Trump EPA Starts Process To Roll Back Clean Water Rule

The Trump administration is starting the process of unwinding an Obama wetlands rule. (Peter Pearsall/USFWS)
The Trump administration is starting the process of unwinding an Obama wetlands rule. (Peter Pearsall/USFWS)
June 29, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. – The Trump administration is starting the formal process of rolling back the Clean Water Rule.

Conservationists say that could hurt the drinking water of a 117 million Americans.

In 2015 the Obama administration clarified which headwaters and wetlands would be protected by the Clean Water Act – a step the Trump EPA has now started to unwind.

Steve Moyer, vice president for government affairs at Trout Unlimited and a longtime Virginia fisherman, says all the state's major rivers are downstream from those kinds of headwaters. He wants people to speak up during what he says is a short public comment period.

"The water that they drink, the water that they fish in, the water that they use to provide water for their livestock,” he states. “Every source of water in Virginia is potentially affected."

Moyer notes that some conservative farming groups, property rights organizations and industry lobbyists criticized the Obama rule as regulating every puddle and birdbath. He says that's simply inaccurate.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, the previous administration acted in response to confusion created by two Supreme Court cases, and in fact wrote the rule to protect less than had been covered before the cases muddied the waters.

Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, says Donald Trump seems to be responding to special interest pressures.

"The president promised crystal clean water during the campaign,” he states. “ In an effort to address the concerns of a small minority, he unfortunately is hurting one third of all Americans."

The public comment period is 30 days.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA