Dec 11, 2018

New Trump proposal will weaken federal clean water rules

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Trump administration is set to roll back clean water rules dating back to the George H.W. Bush administration that were designed to provide expansive federal quality protections on millions of acres of waterways and wetlands, the New York Times' Coral Davenport reports.

Why it matters: "Environmentalists say the proposal represents a historic assault on wetlands regulation at a moment when Mr. Trump has repeatedly voiced a commitment to 'crystal-clean water,'" Davenport writes.

Details: The new measure, which Trump will promote as relieving farmers, rural landowners and real estate developers from federal burdens, seeks to replace an Obama-era rule that aimed "to limit pollution in about 60 percent of the nation’s bodies of water, protecting sources of drinking water for about a third of the United States," Davenport adds.

  • The 2015 regulation also limited farmers from certain types of plowing and planting certain crops on land near wetlands or streams, and mandated that farmers seek permits from the Environmental Protection Agency in order to use chemical pesticides and fertilizers that could run off into the water.
  • Trump's proposal will not get rid of federal protections on larger bodies of water, which were in place prior to the Obama-era rule, but it will chip away at protections of smaller streams and wetlands that don't drain into or are directly adjacent to those larger bodies of water, per the Times.

The bottom line: "Those changes represent a victory for farmers and rural landowners, who lobbied the Trump administration aggressively to make them," writes Davenport.

What's next: The administration will seek public comments on the new rule for 60 days, after which it may revise the proposal before implementing the finalized plan next year.

The big picture: This is the latest attempt by Trump and the EPA to roll back a slew of regulations, including reducing protections for at-risk plants and animals, opening Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and reversing rules intended to prevent methane, one of the most powerful greenhouse gases.

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

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Tariff worries hit record high amid coronavirus outbreak

Data: CivicScience, margin of error ±1 percentage points; Chart: Axios Visuals

Concern about President Trump's tariffs on U.S imports grew to record high levels among Americans last month, particularly as more lost their jobs and concern about the novel coronavirus increased.

Driving the news: About seven in 10 people said they were at least somewhat concerned about tariffs in March, according to the latest survey from CivicScience provided first to Axios.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Largest 24-hour spike in fatalities

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York's death toll from the novel coronavirus surged to its highest one-day total on Tuesday, as the U.S. saw its largest 24-hour spike in fatalities, per Johns Hopkins data. Recorded deaths across the U.S. surpassed 12,900 early Wednesday.

Why it matters: State officials have stressed that lockdowns must continue even if cities begin to see slight improvements from social distancing. Several hot spots, including New York, New Orleans, and Detroit, are expected to peak in the coming days.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 a.m. ET: 1,431,375 — Total deaths: 82,145 — Total recoveries: 301,543Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 a.m. ET: 399,886 — Total deaths: 12,910 — Total recoveries: 22,461Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship — Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Trump said he "didn't see" memos from his trade adviser Peter Navarro warning that the crisis could kill more than half a million Americans.
  4. States latest: California Gov. Gavin Newsom is confident that more than 200 million masks will be delivered to the state "at a monthly basis starting in the next few weeks."
  5. Business latest: America's food heroes in times of the coronavirus crisis. Even when the economy comes back to life, huge questions for airlines will remain.
  6. World updates: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  7. 2020 latest: Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13. Thousands of residents cast ballots in person.
  8. 1 Olympics thing: About 6,500 athletes who qualified for the Tokyo Games will keep their spots in 2021.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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