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Wheeler defends move to cut Obama-era water rule

Environmental Protection Agency seal
Environmental Protection Agency
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epa.gov

The Trump administration says revoking an Obama-era rule on waters and wetlands would provide "much-needed regulatory certainty" for farmers, homebuilders and landowners.

Writing in the Des Moines Register on Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James call the Obama rule "an egregious power grab" that led to even isolated ponds being subjected to federal regulation.

Wheeler and James say their proposed rule would clearly define "where federal jurisdiction begins and ends." They say a new definition would be finalized in the winter.

Environmentalists say the Trump administration move would leave millions of Americans with less safe drinking water.

Wheeler and James have scheduled a Thursday news conference to discuss the decision.