The Environmental Protection Agency announced it is doing away with a clean water regulation that was put in place in 2015 by the Obama Administration.

The regulation outlines which bodies of water are protected under the Federal Clean Water Act, including streams and wetlands.


"This repeal in our opinion is a step forward in furthering the goal in protecting the environment and public health," said Pete Lopez, EPA Regional Two Administrator. 

He says the regulations were unfair to farmers and developers. According to Lopez, rolling it back will better help people understand whether federal permits are required before undergoing new projects.

The move was applauded by the New York Farm Bureau and the Business Council of New York state

"Regulatory uncertainty is a significant barrier to private sector investment," said Ken Pokalsky, The Business Council of NYS Vice President.

But environmental advocates are criticizing Thursday's move by the EPA. They say streams and wetlands are now threatened.

"This rule would be so critical because we're now at a time where waters are more threatened than ever. Harmful aloe blooms are becoming far more frequent," said Liz Moran, the Environmental policy director for the New York Public Interest Research Group.

She says the repeal shows this administration is looking out for the interest of polluters instead of protecting public health.

"Without these protections, it can enable large industries like the oil and gas industries to entirely drain essential wetlands," Moran said.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is planning to challenge the repeal in court. Lopez says he welcomes their engagement. 

"The only thing we can do as an agency is be open, transparent, available, thoughtful of input from our partners and stakeholders," Lopez said.