A federal judge invalidated the Trump administration’s suspension of the Clean Water Rule , effectively reinstating the Obama-era regulation in 26 states. The 2015 rule, also known as Waters of the United States (WOTUS) defines which waters can be protected from pollution and destruction under the Clean Water Act. It protects large water bodies such as lakes and rivers , as well as small streams and wetlands. But last year , President Trump declared WOTUS "a horrible, horrible rule" and tasked then-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) head Scott Pruitt to replace it. In February, Pruitt issued a "Suspension Rule" that delayed WOTUS until 2020 in order to craft a looser and more industry-friendly rule. On Thursday, South Carolina District Judge David Norton sided with a coalition of conservation groups that challenged the delay, and placed a nationwide injunction on Pruitt’s suspension rule. The decision does not apply to 24 other states where legal challenges are pending. Norton said that the EPA violated rule-making procedures, specifically by failing to provide an adequate public notice and comment period required by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). "As administrations change, so do regulatory priorities. But the requirements of the APA remain […]

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