Courts Overturn Trump-Era Rule that Rolled Back Water Pollution Protections
In 2019, former President Trump repealed an Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that granted federal protection to small water sources such as streams, marshes, and wetlands. The original Obama rule had established regulations that would prohibit businesses from polluting the water sources with things such as fertilizers and industrial chemicals. Last week, a federal judge overturned the Trump rule, citing that the Trump rule was flawed and was in clear conflict with the 1972 Clean Water Act.
The Obama rule was originally established to better define which bodies of water are governed by the Clean Water Act and thus fall under federal protection. Trump’s repeal came as part of his administration’s efforts to reduce the number of regulations in place across the federal government.
Last week, Judge Rosemary Márquez, the federal judge trying the case, commented on the “possibility of serious environmental harm” should the Trump administration’s rule be left in place.
The Biden administration had already begun to come up with its own rule to replace that of the previous administration, but the process of implementing new regulations is lengthy. This federal ruling makes it simpler for the Biden administration to offer new regulations to govern water pollutants in these small water sources.