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Rick Worthington Conservation Groups Fight EPA Rules Rollback
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: December 19, 2018

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Conservation Groups Fight EPA Rules Rollback

Farmers - for the most part - breathed easier after the Trump administration moved to officially roll back protections for waterways and wetlands across the country.

It's a push that makes good on a pledge to loosen water rules long opposed by some developers, farmers and oil, gas and mining executives.

Farmers worried they would suddenly be under federal scrutiny for ditches near their fields that had running water only during the heaviest of downpours.

Not everyone is happy, including environmental groups, like Earthjustice, where Jenifer Collins says the proposal ignores the basic science of hydrology.

"All water is connected," she said. "So, whether it's a small stream that only runs part of the year or a wetland that isn't directly connected to a larger body of water, they feed into the larger bodies of water that are the drinking-water sources for millions of people across the country."

Collins said the original rule was meant to protect millions of acres of seasonal wildlife habitat, and to keep the water supply free of pesticides and industrial runoff.

"This proposal is a prime example of the administration putting polluter profits over people," she said. "Really, it's just benefiting polluting industry, like oil and gas, and other developers."

States do have the option of requiring stricter standards within their borders.

The public now has two months to comment on the proposed changes at Regulations.gov.

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