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Biden Administration Reverts to Pre-2015 WOTUS Water Rules
USAgNet - 11/19/2021

The Biden administration took action Thursday to restore federal protections for hundreds of thousands of small streams, wetlands and other waterways, undoing a Trump-era rule that was considered one of that administration's hallmark environmental rollbacks.

At issue is a regulation sometimes referred to as "waters of the United States," or WOTUS, that defines the types of waterways qualifying for federal protection under the Clean Water Act, reports the Associated Press.

The regulation has long been a point of contention among environmental groups, farmers, homebuilders, lawmakers and the courts.

The announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army reinstates a rule in place before 2015 while the Biden administration arrives at its own, which is expected to be next year.

The administration had said in June that it planned to repeal the Trump-era water rule and issue new regulations defining which waterways are federally protected under the Clean Water Act. In August, a federal judge in Arizona threw out the Trump water rule and restored a 1986 standard. It was broader in scope than the Trump rule but narrower than what was established by the Obama administration, which brought federal protections to nearly 60% of the nation's waterways.

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