The Trump administration took an official step toward repealing the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation on Tuesday, The Hill reports. The new proposal requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to go back to using a 2008 guidance document to decide if a waterway is subject to federal oversight. The Trump administration plans to write a new water regulation with a more industry-friendly definition of federal power over waterways.
“We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement, according to the news agency. “This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty in a way that is thoughtful, transparent, and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”
Although environmentalists see it as a direct attack on water protection, supporters applauded the action.
“The final WOTUS rule issued by the last administration was unworkable, a fact acknowledged by courts around the country, and amounted to a massive grab of regulatory authority by an EPA that was overreaching,” Bill Kovacs, vice president for environment and regulatory policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told the news agency.