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Mon Nov 11, 2019, 08:06 AM

No end seen to South Carolina clean water disputes

Source: Post and Courier

Link: https://www.postandcourier.com/news/no-end-seen-to-sc-clean-water-disputes/article_3510b8cc-f73e-11e9-8383-13cdd84f723e.html


Where to draw the line between private and public waters — a legal tug of war that has snarled South Carolina and the nation for more than 20 years — isn’t going to be settled any time soon.

The Southern Environmental Law Center in Charleston recently sued the Trump administration over its latest attempt to gut Obama-era clean water rules that extended protections — and restrictions — to smaller waterways and wetlands.

The federal filing is the latest round of legal wrangling that dates back to the earliest days of the Donald Trump presidency. To give an idea just how complex it’s gotten, the suit was filed while at least three other major court battles are underway over the rules of the rollback.

The federal Clean Water Act was established in 1972 to protect water quality for an estimated 2 million people across South Carolina, among some 200 million across the country. The extension of the rules 30 years later by President Barack Obama restricted any sort of development in wetland areas that feed those waters.

Trump vowed to repeal and replace the Obama rules shortly after taking office — one of the administration’s biggest in a list of promised environmental rollbacks.

Critics, including the state of South Carolina, say the Obama restrictions were federal overreach and that federal public waters are navigable streams only.

A rollback would remove the protections from wetlands unless they are directly connected to a navigable waterway. It also would strip protections from rain-fed streams that are vital to wildlife and help buffer communities from the worsening impacts of drought, floods and hurricanes.

More than 300,000 acres of these wetlands are found in the eight coastal South Carolina counties alone.


Environmental groups call the proposed Trump rollback one of the gravest assaults ever on the spirit of the Clean Water Act. The law center, among other groups, went to court to stop it. Filings and counter filings have been flung back and forth since.

“Water quality, flooding, contamination — they’re going to strip away our powers to deal with those,” said attorney Blan Holman with the law center.

The Trump administration could have just issued an new Clean Water rule, which would have supplanted the Obama rule, Holman said. Instead, the administration chose to repeal the rule all together while deciding what to replace it with.

That opened up the administration to legal challenges over whether it had been done with proper deliberation, public notice and protection of the public waters of the United States.

More info at link.

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Reply No end seen to South Carolina clean water disputes (Original post)
Mike 03 Nov 11 OP
arachadillo Nov 17 #1

Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2019, 05:41 PM

1. South Carolina Water

Anyone interested in learning about all the types of temporary waters


Many terrestrial organisms, such as mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and insects rely on wetlands for at least some part of their life history and/or habitat requirements. Thus, wetlands are a critical element of the overall functioning of ecosystems.

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