TRUMP KICKS OFF WATER RULE REPEAL: President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday kicking off the process of repealing former President Obama’s Clean Water Rule.
The order itself doesn’t repeal the regulation, but it instructs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider the rule, also known as Waters of the United States.
It’s the first action Trump has taken against the EPA, following years of complaints from Republicans and industry about the agency, and multiple campaign promises to rein it in.
“It’s a horrible, horrible rule. Has sort of a nice name, but everything else is bad,” Trump said at a White House signing ceremony, surrounded by Vice President Pence, first lady Melania Trump and top opponents of the regulation, including newly installed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio.).
Farmers, homebuilders and county commissioners were also present.
“The Clean Water Act says that the EPA can regulate navigable waters, meaning waters that truly affect interstate commerce. But a few years ago, the EPA decided that navigable waters can mean nearly every puddle or every ditch on a farmer’s land, or any place else that they decide,” Trump said before signing the order.
“It was a massive power grab. The EPA’s regulators are putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands.”
The rule is already on hold following a court order, so Trump’s move has little immediate effect. Furthermore, it’s likely to take years for the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to go through the extensive rulemaking process to repeal and potentially replace the rule.
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EPA head pledges to help farmers: Mere minutes after attending the signing ceremony, Pruitt headed to National Harbor, Md., to assure the agriculture sector that he’s got their back.
“If you think about the issues that are particularly important to you, from the Farm Bureau perspective, ‘the future ain’t what it used to be,’” Pruitt said at the American Farm Bureau Federation meeting, quoting baseball legend Yogi Berra.
Pruitt told attendees that under Obama, federal regulators took a “we know best” approach on issues like the environment. Pruitt contrasted that with his own intention to put more regulatory powers under state control.
“That is changing under our leadership at the EPA and President Trump’s leadership from the White House,” Pruitt said to applause. “Help is on the way.”
“I’m looking forward to the regulatory rollback to provide certainty to you,” he continued.
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