Tag: Waters of the U.S.
Environmental groups in Alabama and elsewhere say they will fight to delay or stop a new federal rule that would remove the 1972 Clean Water Act’s oversight of half the nation’s wetlands and many small streams. The new rule greatly narrows the Obama-era definition of what constitutes waters of the U.S., commonly called WOTUS.
The rule — called the Navigable Waters Protection Rule — was announced today by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler at a homebuilders meeting in Las Vegas. Real estate and farm interests have been major proponents of replacing WOTUS, which the Trump Administration repealed last fall. The new rule is scheduled to be implemented in 60 days, following publication in the Federal Register. Read more.
The EPA and Department of the Army announced Thursday that the EPA’s proposal to roll back protections under the Waters of the U.S. rule had been finalized.
The change eliminates federal jurisdiction over headwaters, ephemeral and some intermittently flowing streams, and wetlands that do not abut surface water, among other waters.
Environmentalists have warned that more than 80 percent of Alabamians receive their drinking water from such sources. Business owners, farmers and developers have said the change would save them money and allow them to complete projects more quickly.
The rule change has been discussed for months. Read Birmingham Watch’s earlier coverage of the proposal and its potential effects in Alabama:
Local and State Springs, Tributaries, Wetlands May Suffer From Pollution if Proposed Rule Is Finalized
Environmentalists are warning that more than 80 percent of Alabamians receive their drinking water from sources that may lose critical protections under a proposed federal rule. The Waters of the U.S. rule was published Thursday in the Federal Register.
The Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Farmers Federation are among those hailing the proposal, which would greatly reduce the environmental permits required of landowners and developers for discharges of wastewater and runoff of stormwater.
The rule will become final following a 60-day public comment period. Submit comments via the federal rulemaking portal. Read more.
President Trump moved today to weaken the federal Clean Water Act by redefining the Obama administration’s Waters of the US rule, known as WOTUS, to eliminate protections for much of the nation’s waterways – a majority, in some estimates.
The action principally would remove oversight for small tributary headwaters that do not flow year-round and for wetlands not clearly connected to flowing streams.
The proposed new EPA rule is expected to be challenged and eventually work its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where a conservative majority now sits.