The Trump Administration recently announced that it would eliminate an Obama-era regulation called the Clean Water Rule, which was imposed in 2015 to limit development in wetlands and streams.
Many Congressional Republicans have made the same claim – that the Clean Water Rule is an oppressive over-reach by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, because it means EPA is imposing federal control over even puddles on farms.
“No, it’s not true, as a category,” said Curt Spalding, professor at Brown University and a former regional administrator for the EPA.He explained that not only does the rule explicitly list puddles as waters that are not regulated, the rule also continues a four-decade old policy of having the states and sometimes the Army Corps of Engineers – not EPA – take the lead in making most decisions about most building in wetlands and streams. And not only do the states and Army Corps say yes to most permits to build in wetlands, the new regulation continues to exempt farmers from even having to apply for permits.
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