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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Mixed Reactions In Montana To Clean Water Rule Rollback

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox cheered the Trump administration's rollback Thursday of an Obama-era clean water regulation.

The 2015 Waters of the United States rule was designed to protect many American wetlands and streams from pollution, but opponents argued it was too restrictive.

Fox, a Republican seeking his party’s nomination for the 2020 gubernatorial race, joined 13 other states in successfully challenging the rule.

David Brooks, executive director of Montana Trout Unlimited, says this is a disappointing turn of events.

"It risks the cold, clean waters that are in our headwaters streams and wetlands and that our families and our fish and our outdoor recreation depend on."

The Natural Resources Defense Council vows to challenge the administration’s action.

Developers, property rights advocates and farmers, however, savored Thursday’s announcement.

Montana Farm Bureau spokesperson Nicole Rolf says the 2015 rule was too confusing.

"We also believed it broadly expanded EPA’s jurisdiction far beyond what the Clean Water Act initially authorized them to do."

The Trump administration will now draft its own definition of which waters deserve federal protection.

A new rule is expected by winter.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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