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EPA proposes stripping protections from 50 percent of streams and 110 million acres of wetlands

Science: “U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration says it doesn’t know how many streams it is proposing to exclude from Clean Water Act jurisdiction today. But a 2017 slideshow prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers staff shows that at least 18% of streams and 51% of wetlands nationwide would not be protected under the new definition of “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, announced today. The slides, obtained by E&E News under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), contradict what EPA Office of Water chief Dave Ross told reporters on a press call previewing the new rule late yesterday. “If you see percentages of water features that are claimed to be in, or reductions, there really isn’t the data to support those statistics,” Ross said. “No one has that data.” EPA and the Army Corps officially proposed the new regulation at a signing ceremony at EPA headquarters this morning. There, administration officials touted the regulation for bringing clarity to the question of Clean Water Act jurisdiction, while protecting the nation’s water quality. The Clean Water Act is intended to shield wetlands and isolated waterways that serve as cleansers for pollution, buffers for stormwater and habitat for wildlife…”

Outside: “Billed as a rollback of Obama-era “overreach,” the Trump administration announced the most far-reaching assault on environmental protections our country has ever seen. The proposed regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency would strip protections from 50 percent of stream miles in the Lower 48 states and from 110 million acres of wetlands, as well as the larger bodies of water all that flows into. In short, top up your water bottles now, because clean drinking water might just become a thing of the past…”

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