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Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday repealed an Obama-era water protection that curbed the use of polluting chemicals near wetlands, streams and other bodies of water, the New York Times reports.

The big picture, per the Times: Trump's "administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other big businesses." Trump campaigned on Thursday's rollback, deeming the regulation an infringement on property rights — especially for farmers.

  • The Waters of the United States rule, enacted in 2015, limited crop selection and agricultural techniques, and it required farmers to obtain EPA permits to use certain fertilizers and pesticides if they were near a protected area.
  • It sought to ward off pollution in roughly 60% of America's water bodies, protecting about 1/3 of the drinking water in the U.S.
  • The Trump administration has weakened a number of other environmental protections, including automobile regulations and rules for toxic ash disposal. Per a New York Times analysis, more than 50 rollbacks have been completed under Trump, with another 30 in progress.

What's next: The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers are expected to propose a replacement law later this year that keeps federal protections for large bodies of water, but eliminates regulations for smaller streams and isolated wetlands.

  • Per the Times: "Lawyers said the interim period between the completion of the legal repeal of the Obama rule and the implementation of the new Trump rule this year could be one of regulatory confusion for farmers and landowners."

Go deeper: Meet the Obama environmental policies Trump isn’t rolling back

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
5 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.

Mike Allen, author of AM
7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.