In 2015, then-President Barack Obama signed the Waters of the United States, or WOTUS. Put together by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, WOTUS extended federal protections from the 1972 Clean Water Act to millions of acres of streams and wetland, which would ensure water safety for millions of Americans.
Trump has pledged to remove these protections since the beginning of his administration. He has called it a “disaster” and “one of the worst examples of federal regulation.”
This Thursday, Trump has repealed WOTUS.
"I terminated one of the most ridiculous regulations of all: the last administration’s disastrous Waters of the United States rule,” Trump said. “It’s gone. That was a rule that basically took your property away from you.”
Trump's supporters in the agricultural industry, the fossil fuel and energy industry, and real estate developers. This will also benefit the President's business holdings, as it allows previously banned pesticides and fertilizers on golf courses.
“This rule is the culmination of an insider campaign to gut bipartisan protections that have safeguarded the nation’s water for decades, and will endanger the health and environment of families and communities across the entire country,” he said in a statement to HuffPost. “If allowed to stand, this bulldozing of clean water protections would be among this administration’s dirtiest, most dangerous deeds.”
“Waters that have been protected for almost 50 years will no longer be protected under the Clean Water Act,” Patrick Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School, told The New York Times this week.
The rollbacks has even been questioned by scientists appointed by the Trump Administration to the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, who said the rollbacks were, “not fully consistent with established EPA recognized science, may not fully meet the key objectives of the [Clean Water Act] ... and is subject to a lack of clarity for implementation.”
The rule, the board added, “threatens to weaken protection of the nation’s waters” and potentially introduces “substantial new risks to human and environmental health.”
Environmental groups and state attorneys general are filing lawsuits against the administration.