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Maine Scientists, Environmentalists React To EPA's Rollback Of Water Protection Rules

AJ Higgins
Maine Public
The Kenduskeag Stream in March 2018

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced new rules that dramatically scale back protections for wetlands and streams.

The changes had been sought by farming, mining and construction interests who complained the Clean Water Rule protections adopted by the Obama administration were too broad. But environmental groups and even some current and former scientists at the EPA say the standards were based on years of research.

Nick Bennett is a staff scientist with the Natural Resources Council of Maine who says the new rules put drinking water at risk of pollution.

"It's something that has the potential to hurt Maine because something like 400,000 people, if not more, get their drinking water from water bodies that are fed by small streams that will be less protected because of the removal of this rule by the Trump administration."

The Conservation Law Foundation released a statement saying that the rule "green-lights the dumping of pesticides and toxic chemicals into our waters,”

National environmental groups are expected to challenge the new rules in court.