Feb. 28, 2017
By Annie Snider
President Donald Trump took the first step today toward killing a landmark Obama administration rule aimed at protecting the country’s rivers, streams and wetlands, but which was fiercely opposed by industries from agriculture to homebuilding as a federal power grab.
The executive order signed by Trump is the latest in a series of moves by the White House to sweep away regulations from the Obama administration that conservatives have blasted as a drag on the U.S. economy. And it’s expected to be followed by another order in the coming weeks that targets a separate Obama rule aimed at fighting climate change by curbing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.
Trump called the Waters of the U.S. rule “one of the worst examples of federal regulation,” that showed the government had “truly run amok,” at a West Wing signing ceremony attended by congressional opponents of the rule, county commissioners and new EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, who had sued the agency now runs over the regulation in his previous post as attorney general of Oklahoma.
“It was a massive power grab,” Trump said at the signing. “The EPA’s regulators were putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands, and regulations and permits started treating our wonderful small farmers and small businesses as if they were a major industrial polluter. They treated them horribly. Horribly.”