By Ayesha Rascoe and Timothy Gardner
Reuters reports that President Donald Trump signed an order yesterday directing environmental regulators to review the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which it says could be a “lengthy process to undo the rule.”
Trump said during the signing that the act should apply only to navigable waters that affect interstate commerce.
"A few years ago the EPA decided that navigable waters can mean nearly every puddle or every ditch. It was a massive power grab," he said.
The rule, which was written to clarify which bodies of water are covered by the Clean Water Act, was blocked in late 2015 by a federal appeals court pending further court challenges.
Federal law requires that the administration undertake a formal evaluation of the rule before a decision is made about whether to rescind it.
Agriculture groups applauded President Trump’s decision.
“We appreciate the Trump Administration’s commitment to reducing regulatory burdens for America’s farmers and ranchers,” said National Corn Growers Assn. President Wesley Spurlock. “We fully support the repeal of the WOTUS rule. Farmers and ranchers care deeply about clean water, but this rule had significant flaws. It was arbitrarily written, legally indefensible and extremely difficult to implement.”