ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — The Clean Water Act is a federal law passed in the early 70s, it regulates discharge of pollutants in the nations waterways.
In 2015, the Obama Administration expanded the list of protected streams and wetlands under the Waters of the United States rule.
The Trump Administration Thursday announced they will be repealing those rules and revoking the Obama-Era Clean Water Act. In a news conference, Environmental Protection Agency Chief Andrew Wheeler said, “Today’s final rule puts an end to an egregious grab eliminates an on-going patch work for clean water act regulations and restores a long standing and familiar regulatory framework.”
While some are in favor of this decision, Brett Ostby a local scientist said this is not a step in the right direction. “We’re really losing a lot,” Ostby said. “Smarter things happen because of those regulations.”
The Obama Administration gave the federal government the authority to oversee a wide range of lakes and streams, something the Trump Administration will be reducing. “Taking protections from the very smallest streams that are disproportionately important to a rivers health,” Ostby said.
On the other hand local farmer Glen Groth says this decision to roll back on the Waters of the United States rule has been a long time coming.
“Having uncertainty was the big thing that I think led to a lot of farm organization to work against the rule and we are happy that its finally repealed,” Groth said. “Farmers became weary of you know would this water be subjected to clean water act regulations or would it not.”
While the ruling is not in effect both men can agree on one thing. “Farmers in Minnesota are actually doing a better job at keeping sediment from directly coming off their land,” Ostby said. “Clean water is at the root of everything we do here, our crops need clean water, our cattle need clean water and of course our families want clean water, this is a great place to live and it wouldn’t be a great place to live without clean water,” Groth said standing next to his cattle.
The Trump Administration wants to revert back to the original guidelines under the Clean Water Act.