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Trump administration decision to drop Obama-era wetlands rule draws mixed reaction in Michigan

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Michiganders have mixed reactions to the Trump administration rolling back a key Obama-era environmental regulation.

The administration says revoking an Obama-era rule on waters and wetlands would provide "much-needed regulatory certainty" for farmers, homebuilders, and landowners.

“Repealing the WOTUS rule is a major win for American agriculture. The extreme overreach from the past Administration had government taking the productivity of the land people had worked for years,” says U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.  “Farmers and ranchers are exceptional stewards of the land, taking great care to preserve it for generations to come.”

But not everyone agrees with Perdue’s assessment.

Environmentalists say the Trump administration move would leave millions of Americans with less safe drinking water.

“Honestly it’s quite astonishing that the federal government is considering dialing us back to the standards of 1986,” says Liz Kirkwood, the executive director of For Love of Water (FLOW), a group that works to protect Michigan’s fragile wetlands.

Kirkwood is concerned shelving the WOTUS rule will do great harm in the Great Lakes region.

“It creates a problem of course when the federal government is establishing standards that are weaker than what states would like,” says Kirkwood.

But the Michigan Chamber of Commerce welcomes the administration move to scrap the regulations.    Spokesman Rich Studley says the repeal is “long overdue.”

“The so-called “Waters of the United States” regulation is a classic example of sweeping over-reach by non-elected federal bureaucrats,” says Studley, “The Michigan Chamber doesn’t object to reasonable regulations based on facts, sound science and the law.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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