President Trump has directed the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to begin work on cancelling or rewriting an Obama administration rule that aimed to clarify federal authority over wetlands and other bodies of water. Construction industry groups welcomed Trump’s action; environmental organizations criticized it. But both sides agree it probably will be many months, perhaps a couple of years, until a revised rule is issued in final form. Even then, critics of that new regulation are sure to challenge it in court.
Trump on Feb. 28 signed an executive order that deals with a 2015 EPA-Corps rule that defines federally regulated “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). That regulation is important for the construction industry because it determines whether firms must get a Corps permit to deposit dredged or fill material in a particular waterway. Industry groups say the rule defined federal authority too broadly; environmental groups praised it as providing protection for waterways.