by Chris White
The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule Thursday afternoon scaling back an Obama-era regulation farmers and energy producers said saddled them with unnecessary burdens.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the rule change in Las Vegas, effectively hemming in a regulation restricting the use of fertilizers and pesticides. President Donald Trump promised to repeal his predecessor’s “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule when he was running in 2016.
Rolling back WOTUS saves landowners, farmers and businesses from being forced to hire “teams of attorneys to tell them how to use their own land,” Wheeler told reporters at a meeting of the National Association of Home Builders. The rollback is one of many the president is administering.
Trump rolled back more than 90 environmental rules and regulations during his first three years in office, The New York Times reported in December. The NYT relied on an analysis from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources to keep tabs on the president’s numbers.
The president often touts his record of nixing former President Barack Obama’s regulatory regime.
“I terminated one of the most ridiculous regulations of all: the last administration’s disastrous Waters of the United States rule,” Trump told the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention Sunday. “That was a rule that basically took your property away from you.”
The agricultural industry championed the move ahead of Wheeler’s official announcement.
“This is a big win for farmers, and this is the president delivering what he promised,” Donald Parrish, senior director of regulatory affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement to The New York Times, which reported Wednesday on the expected rollback.
Trump’s move to target another plank in Obama’s regulatory legacy comes as Democratic senators make their case for impeachment. The House of Representatives voted on Jan. 15 to send the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate and approved the House’s impeachment managers.
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Chris White is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.