Listen: EPA Confirms The Agency Is Changing Water Policy
"Nate Rod is here with me he covers the environment for NPR and we're talking about the trump administration's decision to repeal an Obama era regulation protecting wetlands and streams from from pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed this yesterday saying they wanna give farmers home builders and land owners more certainty. Can you just start with how this Obama era regulation was was working so that might be giving it too much credit almost from the very beginning when this rule was implemented in two thousand fifteen it was facing challenges legal challenges political challenges all the above but basically what the regulation was trying to do was expand federal water protections under the Clean Water Act Two rivers streams wetlands lakes some argued even ponds that didn't officially have protections before the clean water act largely limits pollution in what they what are called navigable waters think big rivers you know big enough to float a boat but in the forty plus years since the Clean Water Act was went into effect court decisions including Supreme Court decision left the door open for protections of waterways is to be expanded so not just you know rivers but the streams that feed into those rivers the wetlands next to them water systems are connected right so Obama wanted to officially actually extend federal water protections to that larger connected system but it never got off the ground really abusive all these legal challenges everything but so you'd farmers you'd minors minors a lot of people pushing the trump administration for this rollback of this Obama era regulation. What was their central argument well without question that this rule certainly expanded federal protections to new waterways it didn't maybe automatically have them before and that alone was fuel from criticism for criticism from miners farmers developers who saw ah this is federal land grab and argued that it was an over interpretation of what the Clean Water Act itself allows the federal government to do so there were thrilled to see the trump administration carry through on its promise to repeal this but as with a lot of policies when where the other it's kind of hard to know what the on the ground impact was versus versus a lot of the rhetoric that surrounded this policy and part of that was because as I mentioned before it was challenged right away so the head of the EPA Andrew Wheeler I I WANNA give it listen to this th th this is the announcement he made yesterday when President Trump took office he immediately set in motion a process to remove and replace Regulatory Tori burdens that were stifling American innovation and Economic Development the Obama Administration's Twenty fifteen waters of the US definition was is at the top of the list so this goes beyond saying hey this is a regulation that we need to to scrap a rollback to give more certainty for farmers and let them know that they don't have to worry about their ponds. This goes to like a fundamental goal of the trump administration to roll back President Obama's environmental policies that fair L. Absolutely I mean president trump trump before he was president was pretty clear that that was going to be one of his top agendas when he if he was to take office and you know wheeler when he was making that announcement announcement yesterday at the National Association of Manufacturers Headquarters in DC bragging about how effective his agency the EPA has been deregulation. I think he said they've done. They've taken forty six deregulatory actions and they have forty five more in the work. you know and that's just one agency. That hasn't including terrier. It doesn't include other agencies that are also doing deregulation of course. He didn't say that many of those deregulatory actions are being held up in court and it is very likely that this rollback will will face the same sort of challenges ages. N._P._R.'S NATE wrought here West with Munich. Thanks so much yeah thank you."