On Dec. 12, 2017, the Trump administration announced plans to reduce federal oversight over tributary and wetlands pollution. This marked a big win for farmers, fracking companies and builders who have been forced to adhere to the Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations regarding waste and water usage for decades.
During Trump's run for the presidency, he mentioned that one of his top priorities upon taking office would be to order that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) eliminate the Waters of the United States rule.
That rule, which served as an extension of the 1972 CWA, was instituted in 2015 during the Obama administration. Under it, the EPA was required to closely monitor any stormwater controls, wetlands, ditches, streams and lakes that fed into larger waterways.
When questioned about Trump's motivation to pull back on the CWA, one of his advisors noted that it gave Washington too much control over privately owned property. He also pointed out that the regulatory oversight that began under the Obama administration was far too time-consuming and costly than it needed to be.
Those who oppose the proposal have expressed concern that sand or gravel pits and old quarries used for fracking in the oil and gas industry will fill up with water. They've said that they fear how mountaintops, which are generally cut off to store coal mining waste, will become filled with water -- eventually creating toxic ponds. They've also inquired about how much fertilizer will be introduced to other bodies of water.
As for the oil and gas industry, the American Petroleum Institute had previously expressed their discontentment with the 2015 rule. They'd argued that it imposed so many burdensome regulatory oversight and costs that it had greatly affected their ability to produce energy. They also said that its implementation had very little positive impact on the environment.
Legislators in Washington will be given a 60-day comment period from the day the proposal was announced on Dec. 12 to provide feedback on it.
Anyone who works in the oil and gas industry is keenly aware of how locating and then tapping deposits can give way to legal issues. This is why it's essential for you to ally with an oil and gas law attorney who is experienced in handling disputes over royalties, property transactions and environmental damage matters.