The Trump administration is planning to roll back Clean Water Act protections created under the Waters of the United States rule put in place by the Obama administration. The rule affects millions of acres of waterways and wetlands, and in California in particular it includes up to two-thirds of California’s inland streams. The rule angered a lot of farmers and real estate developers who saw it as a taking. The Trump administration’s plan for a scaled-down rule is expected to be released soon.
According to the Times article, the new rule being promoted by Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency will strip federal protections from many smaller water bodies that do not flow year-round, including “most seasonal ponds, wetlands and streams, including those that form major parts of drinking-water systems and fisheries throughout the nation, particularly in the arid West. As many as 1 in 3 Americans drink water derived in part from seasonal streams that may no longer get protections.”