As part of his ongoing campaign to repeal and undermine many of Barack Obama’s environmental accomplishments, yesterday President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA to roll back a 2015 regulation known as “Waters of the United States” rule. The regulation gives the federal government the authority to limit pollution in major bodies of water, rivers, streams, and wetlands.
Trump’s executive order, on its own, can’t repeal the rule. However, he’s directed the controversial new EPA head, Scott Pruitt, to begin the complex legal process of rescinding and rewriting the rule, which the New York Times writes could take longer than Trump’s first term to actually carry out. The rule was originally created to clear up confusion about the federal government’s authority in regulating streams, wetlands, and major bodies of water after a series of court decisions created legal confusion.
Though the rule was put forward jointly by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, many business owners in industries including property development, oil and gas, and fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing claim it stifles economic growth. Environmentalists, on the other hand, contend that it will help provide healthier drinking water and cleaner natural areas to people around the nation.
This isn’t the only environmental executive order Trump’s expected to sign in the near future. Reports are also circulating that in the coming week he’ll sign a similar order directing the EPA to dismantle Obama’s 2015 climate change regulations as well.