Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Trump administration to drop Obama-era water protection rule

EPA to Eliminate All Animal Testing by 2035 EPA to Begin Phasing Out Animal Testing and Funding Studies for More Humane Research Methods
Elijah Vega | 13 September, 2019, 10:18

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it has finalized its repeal of the Obama-era rule that would have expanded federal protections for smaller water bodies like streams and ponds.

The Environmental Protection Agency has scrapped a controversial Obama Administration rule on water regulation.

The 2015 Waters of the United States rule defined the waterways subject to federal regulation.

"Before this final rule, a patchwork of regulations existed across the country as a result of various judicial decisions enjoining the 2015 Rule", said R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.

In 2014, Congressman Collins attempted to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) from expanding federal control under the Clean Water Act by leading a letter to the EPA Administrator and the Department of Army Secretary urging them not the move forward.

"The Clean Water Act is a core part of our of nations laws to protect clean water".

While the opinion of the Supreme Court only held that isolated wetlands could not be considered jurisdictional waters exclusively on their basis as habitat for migratory birds, the practical result was that very few isolated wetlands were considered to be jurisdictional.

"That's what the federal government is here to do", Southerland said, "they make sure that there is a level playing field between states for water and air quality". "The EPA is abdicating its mission to protect our environment and our health". Administrator Wheeler also announced $4.25 million in funding to five universities to research the development and use of alternative test methods and strategies that reduce, refine, and/or replace vertebrate animal testing.

Trump's Softer Line On Iran Could Tank Oil Prices
Bolton is a controversial figure closely linked to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and other aggressive USA foreign policy decisions. Rouhani's website quoted him as urging the United States to also abandon the "maximum pressure policy" on Iran .

"The EPA is tossing out 50 years of peer-reviewed science and in doing so threatens to undermine the integrity of the Nation's waters that support fish and wildlife", said Doug Austen, executive director of the American Fisheries Society. America's large rivers, lakes and reservoirs may capture more attention, but they are all the product of the waters that feed them.

"Today's final rule, in combination with the replacement rule later in the year, could tear the soul out of the Clean Water Act's protection of small streams and wetlands", said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited.

As NPR reported when the repeal process was resumed late previous year, "Under EPA's proposal, the only wetlands that will be federally protected are those that are adjacent to a major body of water, or ones that are connected to a major waterway by surface water".

Happy to be on hand for the announcement was American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall who said the WOTUS issue and AFBF's "Ditch the Rule" campaign generated more interest among member than any ever before.

"The President's Dirty Water Rule will pollute and poison the clean drinking water of tens of millions of families and communities".

The Supreme Court in 2006 produced three differing opinions, leading the Obama administration to craft its rule. Court rulings have temporarily blocked the regulation in 28 states, while keeping it in effect in 22 others. It was effective in 22 states, Washington, D.C., and USA territories before Thursday's action.

Former EPA officials who've worked under Republican and Democratic administrations told NBC News that this rule change will only benefit mining industries, oil and gas pipeline corporations and land developers.

"This repeal is a victory for land developers, oil and gas drillers and miners who will exploit that ambiguity to dredge and fill small streams and wetlands that were protected from destruction by the 2015 rule due to their critical impact on national water quality", Southerland said. To date, it's completed or is working on rollbacks of 84 other environmental rules.

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