by Tom Johnson
New Jersey Spotlight

The Trump administration yesterday formally began the process of repealing a rule that extended protections to small streams and wetlands, a step environmentalists warned could degrade water quality in New Jersey and elsewhere around the nation.

The proposal, announced by the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator Scott Pruitt during a congressional hearing, would fulfill a campaign promise by the president during his campaign last year to replace the “waters of the United States’’ rule…

[T]he issue has spurred much confusion and litigation over the years, caused, in part, by conflicting court decisions over which waterways ought to be protected. The rule has caused angst among developers, farmers and industry groups.

“With its broad definition and draconian regulation, the Waters of the U.S. rule was an attack on property rights, an affront to small businesses, and an undue burden on America’s farmers and ranchers,’’ said Craig Richardson, president of the Energy and Environment Legal Institute.

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