Trump administration to finalize rule removing environmental protections for streams and wetlands

Catherine Garcia

In a victory for fossil fuel producers and real estate developers, the Trump administration on Thursday will replace an Obama-era regulation that protects 60 percent of the country's waterways.

Under President Trump's plan, landowners will be able to dump pollutants, including fertilizers and pesticides, into waterways and destroy wetlands for construction projects, The New York Times reports. Trump called the regulation — which he likely encountered as a real estate developer and golf course owner — "horrible" and "destructive," and repealed it in September.

The Trump administration has eliminated or weakened dozens of environmental regulations and laws, including those that protect endangered species and combat pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency's Scientific Advisory Board did not agree with this latest rollback, saying Trump's new rule "neglects established science." Several state attorneys general are expected to sue the administration over the change, along with environmental groups.

"This will be the biggest loss of clean water protection the country has ever seen," Blan Holman with the Southern Environmental Law Center told the Times. "This puts drinking water for millions of Americans at risk of contamination from unregulated pollution. This is not just undoing the Obama rule. This is stripping away protections that were put in place in the '70s and '80s that Americans have relied on for their health."

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