As expected, President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Tuesday instructing the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, to begin the process of dismantling President Barack Obama’s clean water rule.
The 2015 Waters of the United States rule expanded the federal government’s oversight over streams, tributaries, and wetlands that feed into the nation’s larger bodies of water. The rule, which was opposed by the fossil fuel, fertilizer, and farming industries, required that farmers and companies receive permission from the federal government before using some fertilizers near certain waterways. Legal challenges have kept the rule from taking effect, and likewise it will almost certainly take years of further legal battles to repeal or rewrite the act. In the meantime, Trump is expected to issue a second executive order directing Pruitt to target Obama’s Clean Power Plan next.