The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it has finalized a repeal of the Obama-era clean water rule that spells out protections for large and small bodies of water. The EPA will create a new rule to replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation, which was established in 2015. The Trump administration rule is expected to cover fewer waterways than the current one and weaken existing protections.
Soon after he was inaugurated, President Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA and the Army to “review and rescind or revise” the regulation. The order said that it’s in the nation’s interest to keep waterways free of pollution, while still promoting economic growth and cutting regulatory uncertainty.
Many businesses have opposed the WOTUS rule, arguing that it was overly broad. The National Federation of Independent Business sued the Obama administration over the rule, complaining that it gave the federal government “jurisdiction over seasonal streams, ponds, ditches, and even depressions fields that are dry through most of the year.” The federation also took issue with the fact that business owners could be fined $50,000 per day for violating the rule.
In December 2018, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler unveiled