Federal Judge Drops Trump Rule Governing Water Pollution


WASHINGTON – A federal judge on Monday, Trump era environmental rule This greatly limited federal restrictions on pollution of millions of streams, wetlands, and swamps across the country.

The Biden administration has already embarked on a long process to undo the policy that President Donald J. Trump established in 2020 to please real estate developers and farmers. Mr Trump’s policy has allowed pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides and industrial chemicals to be discharged into smaller streams and wetlands.

But on Monday, United States District Court Judge Rosemary Márquez found “fundamental, significant flaws” in the Trump administration’s policy, which she said contradicted the 1972 Clean Water Act. Trump warned of the “possibility of serious environmental damage” if the rule remains in effect.

The judge noted that Trump’s policy has allowed more than 300 projects across the country to continue without environmental clearance. Most of these projects were in arid states like New Mexico and Arizona.

The court order is the latest in a series of decisions by federal judges that cracked down on Trump’s environmental policies after he noted that the administration often ignored analysis of career federal scientists.

At his behest, Judge Márquez wrote that the Trump water rule, written jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, ignores the EPA’s own scientific findings that show pollution is allowed in small bodies of water. the health of larger bodies of water and their ecosystems.

A spokesperson for the EPA said the agency was reviewing the decision, but declined to comment on it.

The Trump rule was a revision of an earlier rule announced by the Obama administration in 2015. United States Waters. This rule used the authority of the Clean Water Act of 1972 to protect about 60 percent of the nation’s waterways, including large bodies of water such as the Chesapeake Bay, Mississippi River, and Puget Sound, as well as smaller rivers, wetlands, seasonal streams. and streams that run temporarily underground.

Mr Trump repealed the policy in 2019, calling it “one of the most ridiculous regulations” and claimed that its repeal made farmers cry with gratitude. A year later, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a replacement policy known as the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, narrowing the definition of “water” and removing the protections of more than half the nation’s wetlands and hundreds of thousands of kilometers of high streams. United States” deserves federal protection.

With rules both Trump and Obama outlawed, the nation’s waters are now protected by the 1986 rule; environmentalists, farmers and developers complained that the rule was contradictory and poorly written, leading to thousands of legal disputes over water pollution. over the years.

“It was terribly confusing,” said Mark Ryan, a former EPA attorney. Determining whether bodies of water were eligible for federal protection from pollution “required a very complex, time-consuming process.”

This summer, EPA administrator Michael S. Regan announced plans to begin drafting a new water protection rule that could be completed by next year.


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