President Trump says rollback of waterway rules imminent

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (KXAN) — President Donald Trump told a crowd in downtown Austin that the finalized repeal of specific water rules will be complete in a few days. Leaders at the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in downtown Austin have fought the Waterways of the U.S. rules for years and the President told them he’s about to deliver on the campaign promise.

“You love your land. You’re going to take care of your land. You don’t need bureaucrats in Washington telling everyone what the hell to do with your land. You love your land,” said President Donald Trump.

The farming organizations have been some of the most vocal supporters to rollback the water rules. The change to the Waters of the U.S. rule was proposed in 2018 and would eliminate Obama-era environmental regulations for half the country’s wetlands and streams, according to the EPA.

The rule set nationwide standards for creeks and streams that don’t flow year-round – known as intermittent streams – and sometimes only when it rains – known as ephemeral streams.

Scientists within the EPA have opposed the move, calling “aspects of the proposed rule are in conflict with established science, the existing WOTUS 37 rule developed based on the established science, and the objectives of the Clean Water Act.”

The foundation of the rule was put in place in with the Clean Water Act more than forty years ago. Agriculture groups and many Republican lawmakers from agricultural states argue the state governments are better at setting water rules because they’re closer to the impacted landowners and could be more nimble with major differences between the different states.

“Local issues are local issues. You need your local governments to be able to deal with those on their basis rather than have somebody in Washington formulating a one size fits all plan that supposedly works across the country. It doesn’t work that way,” said Vice President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Scott VanderWal.

“It’s a huge step backward for protecting the waterways that so many of us rely on for swimming and fishing and drinking water,” said Luke Metzger from Environment Texas. Metzger says recent boil water notices in Austin should remind folks water quality can paralyze a city. The rollback would let states set the rules themselves and he has little confidence in the Texas state government.

“We can’t count on the State of Texas to do it because their track record is horrible when it comes to enforcing our laws. Only a fraction of the polluters actually face any financial consequences,” said Metzger.

Environmental regulations on businesses are almost always sent into the court system: whether it’s companies or states filing suit over them. This is no different. Several states have already promised legal action.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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