Donald Trump repeals Obama-era water protections to boost industry

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But California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has led dozens of lawsuits against Trump administration policy rollbacks, said Thursday his state is "prepared to defend" the Obama clean water rule because its cutback would remove many California waters from federal protection.

President Barack Obama's Waters of the United States rule had defined which streams and wetlands are protected by the 1972 Clean Water Act from pollutants including pesticides, fertilizers and mine waste.

Indiana Builders Association CEO Rick Wajda says a quarter of what you pay for a house can be traced to regulation.

"This will mean that miners can do mountaintop removal and fill in streams, pipelines can cut across wetlands, land developers can build on wetlands without a permit", Southerland said. But Wajda and the Indiana Farm Bureau's Justin Schneider say WOTUS wasn't merely too strict, but too uncertain. Court rulings have temporarily blocked the regulation in 28 states, while keeping it in effect in 22 others.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James have scheduled a Thursday news conference to discuss the decision.

While it's unclear exactly what the new rule will say, environmental groups have panned the idea as a threat to the nation's waterways.

Indiana Senator Mike Braun and Representative Larry Bucshon, both Republicans, issued statements applauding the repeal. "The federal government needs to step up its efforts to protect our drinking water, not scale back the rules for polluters".

"This rule has serious implications for our local farmers, it allows bureaucrats to determine if small divots or puddles were considered "navigable waters".

"After years spent fighting the 2015 WOTUS Rule in the halls of Congress, in the Courts, and at the EPA, cattle producers will sleep a little easier tonight knowing that the nightmare is over", she said. "This is shameful and unsafe", said Abigail Dillen, Earthjustice president.

The rollback is the latest in a series of actions by the Trump administration to weaken or undo major environmental rules. They argue that because the nation's water systems are interconnected, some across state lines, federal regulation is required to protect sources of drinking water and the wildlife that depend on them.

"This was nothing more than a giant power grab by the Obama Administration that had real and harmful consequences on America's hardworking farmers and small business owners", Congressman Collins said. "This unsubstantiated action is illegal and will certainly be challenged in court".

"In an unprecedented power grab, this rule handed federal bureaucrats authority to regulate nearly any water imaginable-creating unnecessary regulatory obstacles for everyone from farmers plowing their land to local governments building ditches for public safety to families building their homes", Bakst argued.

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