President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday directing the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review a controversial 2015 Clean Water Act rule designed to protect small bodies of water from pollution, according to The Washington Times.
“EPA’s so-called Waters of the U.S. rule is one of the worst examples of federal regulation,” said Trump, at the White House signing ceremony held on Tuesday afternoon. “It has truly run amok. The Clean Water Act says the EPA can regulate navigable waters, meaning waters that truly affect interstate commerce. 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 they decide, right? It was a massive power grab.”
Trump’s executive order drew from a legal opinion written by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia that further defined waters applicable “only to permanent, standing or continuous flowing bodies of water” rather than the Obama Administration’s desired interpretation that includes smaller streams, lakes and waterways.
Trump repeatedly made campaign promises that, if elected, he would immediately roll back radical environmental regulations prohibiting economic growth.
While Democrats argued the rule provided safeguards for drinking water, many business leaders were enthused about the Trump Administration’s reversal.
“I think there are some regulations that in the near term need to be rolled back in a very aggressive way,” said Scott Pruitt, Trump’s new EPA Administrator, as he delivered a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend. Pruitt also indicated the review process would likely begin this week.
OK Energy Today reported on May 29, 2015 that Pruitt – as Oklahoma’s Attorney General – vowed to fight the federal regulatory overreach that expanded the EPA’s authority over the smallest bodies of water.