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Trump to order review of Obama waterway regulation

President Donald Trump honored a campaign promise made to home builders when he signed an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to begin the process of rescinding or revising the controversial "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule.

"President Donald Trump's decision today to roll back the controversial Waters of the USA regulation is a welcome development for the nation's dairy farmers, who have been concerned by the continuing lack of clarity and certainty generated by this policy", Jim Mulhern, NMPF president, said in a release.

It vastly expanded federal jurisdiction over state waters, ' said a Trump administration official in a briefing to reporters about Trump's impending order.

WOTUS has been criticized for ambiguities that could allow for federal overreach concerning "any water that is in a 100- year floodplain and within 1,500 feet of another regulated water", according to a report from September 2016 by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Getting rid of a rule clarifying which types of waters are federally protected-or any federal regulation for that matter-is not as simple as issuing an executive order.

A second executive order will move the federal initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities into the White House Domestic Policy Council from the Department of Education, where it was housed under the Obama administration.

The EPA published the rule in 2015 under President Obama. The rule also millions of acres of wetlands that filter and protect America's great waterways from the Great Lakes to the Chesapeake Bay to Puget Sound.

The expected order won't immediately do away with the rule, however - instead, it simply formalizes the administration's intent to roll back the regulation.

The push to unravel the rule marks yet another shift in a decades-long debate over to what extent the federal government can dictate activities affecting the wetlands, rivers and streams that feed into major water bodies. This executive order is about one thing: "protecting polluters at the expense of our communities and their access to clean drinking water", Madeleine Foote, the group's legislative representative, said in a statement. "It was a massive power grab", Trump said. Scalia wrote a plurality opinion in a split decision - an opinion that would have reduced the scope of the act by defining "waters of the United States" as covering only permanent, standing or continuous flowing bodies of water. One such lawsuit was led by Scott Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma and the new administrator of the EPA.

The rule "is grounded in science and the law so that our streams and wetlands can keep us healthy and safe, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and attractive places to recreate", Knodel said. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters.



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