Pelosi slams Trump administration's new water rule: 'An outrageous assault'

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump's Intel moves spark Democratic fury Buttigieg sounds alarm after Sanders wins Nevada Russian interference reports rock Capitol Hill MORE (D-Calif.) blasted the Trump administration over its Thursday rollback to protections for streams and other smaller bodies of water, saying that the new rule is an "outrageous assault" on clean water regulations. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled its Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which leaves much environmental regulation to state and local authorities. It replaces an already-repealed rule implemented by the the Obama administration that expanded the types of waterways protected by federal law. 

“The Trump Administration’s new Dirty Water Rule is an outrageous assault on the clean water that millions of Californians and Americans across the country rely on to grow our food, preserve our diverse ecosystems and protect the health of our children and families," Pelosi said in a statement.

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"This shameful policy will give polluters free rein to dump pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals directly into waters, threatening the drinking water of 117 million Americans and setting us back decades in our work to clean and protect our nation’s vital water systems," she added. 

Other Democrats as well as environmental groups joined Pelosi in condemning the change, while many Republicans praised it. 

“The need for clean water is as basic as it is universal. Yet the Trump administration has just given polluters a free pass to contaminate groundwater, destroy streams and wetlands and put our water at risk," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune in a statement. 

Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarOvernight Energy: Green groups to sue over Trump rollback of Obama water rules | GOP climate plan faces pushback from right | Bezos launches B climate initiative GOP climate plan faces pushback — from Republicans New Qatari prime minister means new opportunities MORE (R-Ariz.) in a statement called the Obama administration's older rule an "egregious" example of "federal overreach."

"The rule gave unprecedented power to bureaucrats in D.C. at the expense of farmers, ranchers, small business owners and all Americans," Gosar said. "Today’s announcement will provide regulatory certainty, eliminate federal overreach and balance federal protection of our Nation’s waters while empowering state autonomy over their resources."