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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Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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