Lawsuit challenges Trump administration waterway protection rollback

Lawsuit challenges Trump administration waterway protection rollback
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has again been sued over its rollback of Obama-era waterway protections.

On Thursday, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), on behalf of four other environmental groups, sued the agency, claiming that the new rule conflicts with the Clean Water Act and “disregards” science “without any rational, let alone ‘reasonable,’ explanation.”

“The Trump EPA’s definition of waters protected under the Clean Water Act not only goes against a commonsense reading of the law, but also against the accepted science of how water bodies become polluted,” said a statement from EIP attorney Sunny Lee. 

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“With this legal action we hope to reveal, once again, the extent to which this administration is rolling back critical environmental regulations at the expense of public health simply so industry can save a few dollars cutting corners,” Lee said. 

In January, the Trump administration finalized a rule that would limit protections against pollution for smaller bodies of water. 

Proponents believe that regulating these smaller waterways is not necessary while opponents argue that contamination in these streams often flows into larger bodies of water, including drinking water sources. 

An EPA spokesperson told The Hill in a statement that the rule “strikes the proper balance between state and federal jurisdiction and is designed to end the confusion that has existed for decades.”

Several other lawsuits have been filed over the rule, which went into effect this week after a federal judge declined to block it. 

However, a Colorado-based suit was able to prevent the rule from becoming effective in that state.