EPA rolls back clean water regulations

An Obama era policy that expanded federal oversight and the threat of steep fines for polluting the country’s smaller waterways has been rescinded by the Trump administration.


The Obama admin in 2015 expanded federal oversight upstream to better protect the wildlife and drinking water from industrial runoff and pollution. The present EPA were calling this overeach. Opposition to the tightening of the regulations was opposed by farmers, property developers, chemical manufacturers, and oil and gas producers. Intrusion on property owners rights is cited as a concern.

Court battles following the Obama era ruling have led to fractured rules across the country. Due to legal challenges the new regulations are in place in only 22 states…the new decision by the Trump admin will surely spark more legal wrangling.


The Trump rules restores regulatory text that existed before the 2015 rule. Property that is no longer covered by the 1972 Clean Water Act remains protected by state rules. Major waterways, like most rivers and lakes, are already under protection of the Clean Water Act and still will be after the rollback.

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