Regulation of non-navigable waters was the responsibility of the states.
More than two dozen environmental groups shared statements on Thursday announcing their intense displeasure with the Trump administration's decision and their fear for what it could mean for unprotected streams and waterways.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced the repeal of the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule that extended federal authority and protections to streams and wetlands.
"We want to make sure that we have a definition that once and for all will be the law of the land in all 50 states", Wheeler said. The second and final step is expected to happen this winter, Stepp said.
The Obama rule, developed under the authority of the 1972 Clean Water Act, was created to limit pollution in about 60 percent of the nation's bodies of water, protecting sources of drinking water for about one-third of the United States.
"In an unprecedented power grab, this rule handed federal bureaucrats authority to regulate nearly any water imaginable-creating unnecessary regulatory obstacles for everyone from farmers plowing their land to local governments building ditches for public safety to families building their homes", Bakst argued. The repeal rule's finalization sets the stage for future legal challenges. "It doesn't settle the dispute".
The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers proposed placing the waters the government can regulate into six categories.
"As the definition expanded, so too has Washington's power over private property and the states" traditional authority to regulate their land and water resources, ' they said. "If there's not a rule, that's not helpful to the business community".
Farmers, miners, developers, and oil and gas companies also weren't fans.
"Manufacturers are committed to environmental stewardship, so now we look forward to a new, more effective rule to protect clean water".
Environmentalists say Mr. Trump's push to loosen clean-water regulations represents an assault on the nation's streams and wetlands at a moment when Mr. Trump has repeatedly declared his commitment to "crystal-clean water". "This repeal will not go unchallenged".
For more than 46 years, the Clean Water Act has proved effective at making rivers, lakes, and streams safer for swimming, fishing, and drinking.
As part of an effort begun only minutes after Donald Trump took office in 2017, the Trump administration today released its final rule repealing the Clean Water Rule. Getting a yes or no ruling from the Supreme Court wouldn't satisfy all the stakeholders.
"I think at this point it's a disaster", she says.
"I would hope a new administration will come in and do a regulation negotiation process", Southerland says.
"There is literally a tidal wave of regulatory changes that are coming out of this administration now that are going to need to be challenged", Edwards said, "and we will be in court challenging them".