LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Several Arkansas politicians are applauding a move by the Trump administration to remove another regulation imposed under President Barack Obama.
The rule, implemented in 2015, protected over half of the streams in America, but has been continually criticized by farmers, fossil fuel companies, and politicians as "federal overreach." In February, President Donald Trump issued an executive order instructing the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revise the regulation.
Environmentalists have said that the rule is needed to protect animals and the use of water by humans. The Huffington Post reported Wednesday that the Clean Water Act "protected the drinking water of more than 117 million Americans."
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said the Trump administration is returning power to the states. He claimed that the re-evaluation process of the Clean Water Rule would be "collaborative with other agencies and the public" as well as both thoughtful and transparent.
Those plans to begin the withdrawal process of the rule were met with both criticism and praise, but many Arkansas politicians have applauded the move, calling it a "big win for Arkansas landowners."
"[This] action shows a clear signal that the EPA is returning to its core mission," said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. "I look forward to working with the agency as it works to draft a new, lawful rule that protects our waters and does not harm our farmers and ranchers, who continue to be the first conservationists."
U.S. Senator Tom Cotton called the move wise and long overdue. He stated that rescinding this regulation would help to "restore trust" between the EPA and rural America. Senator John Boozman also praised the move, calling it a win for homeowners, small business, and farmers in the Natural State.
Congressman French Hill also praised the regulation's removal, saying "good regulatory policy protects our environment and our citizens."
"Arkansas is a state that supports clean water and has taken great strides to protect and enhance our natural environment," Governor Asa Hutchinson said. "As communicated in my recent letter to Administrator Pruitt, I support clear and efficient regulations and a more balanced partnership with the states."
Currently, implementation of the Clean Water Act has been stayed in the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in response to lawsuits that argue it is "regulatory overreach."
The Trump administration has also rescinded the Clean Power Plan and proposed huge cuts to the EPA's budget.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© 2018 KTHV-TV