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WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump is
expected to sign a measure on Wednesday aimed at rescinding a
major Obama administration water regulation and direct an end to
the government’s defense of the rule, a Trump official briefed
on the plan said on Friday.
Trump is expected to direct the Environmental Protection
Agency to withdraw the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule,
which expands the number of waterways that are federally
protected under the Clean Water Act.
The rule was finalized by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers in May 2015, and was blocked by a federal appeals
court pending further court challenges.
The rule has faced intense opposition from Republicans in
Congress, farmers and energy companies.
Critics contend the rule vastly expands the federal
government’s authority and could apply to ditches and small
isolated bodies of water. The EPA under President Barack Obama
said the rule protects waters that are next to rivers and lakes
and their tributaries “because science shows that they impact
A White House spokeswoman did not immediately comment.
Trump is also expected to issue other environmental
executive orders as early as next week, including ordering a
reversal of the Obama administration’s clean power plant rule
and instructing the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land
Management to lift a ban on new coal mining leases on federal
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt told The Wall Street Journal
last week that he planned to quickly withdraw the clean power
plant and WOTUS rules. “There’s a very simple reason why this
needs to happen: Because the courts have seriously called into
question the legality of those rules,” Pruitt told the
Withdrawing the water and power plant rules will take time
to meet regulatory requirements and will likely face court
challenges from some Democratic state attorneys general and
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