New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday he plans to lead a multi-state coalition to sue the Trump administration for delaying the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule.
"The Trump Administration’s suspension of the Clean Water Rule threatens to eliminate protections for millions of miles of streams and acres of wetlands across the country," Schneiderman said. “The suspension of these vital protections is reckless and illegal. That is why I will lead a multistate coalition that will sue to block this rollback in court."
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a finalized regulation Wednesday delaying the Obama administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule.
Pruitt's action postpones the regulation until 2020, as the EPA goes about a process of writing its own version.
The Obama administration rule, published in June 2015, intended to clarify which waters and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act and are subject to federal regulation by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers.
The definition of a waterway under the rule includes everything from a drainage ditch to streams and rivers. That means many more areas would fall under EPA's enforcement jurisdiction and control, from farmers to individual homeowners to oil companies, critics of the rule say.
President Trump issued an executive order in February to re-evaluate the rule, starting the lengthy regulatory process of blocking and re-writing it.
The EPA plans to issue a proposed new regulation in April or May. Pruitt aims to finalize the revised rule by the end of the year.