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Myakka River State Park outside of Sarasota, Florida on Dec. 30, 2016. The park is a small preserve of rare protected habitat along Florida's Gulf Coast, a region that has seen intense development and population growth. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

Today, the Trump administration will finalize its replacement for the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule in a move that will strip protections from more than half of the nation's wetlands and allow landowners to dump pesticides into waterways, or build over wetlands, for the first time in decades.

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Diane Wilson holds up a bag full of nurdles she collected from one of Formosa's outfall areas on Jan. 15. Julie Dermansky / DeSmogBlog

By Julie Dermansky

On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.

After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa in 2017, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.

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The Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility is located near Kaanapali beach, on the west side of Maui. Falco Ermert / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Brett Walton

Defying a vote of the County Council, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said on Oct.18 that he will not settle a Clean Water Act lawsuit that holds national implications for water pollution permitting.

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Maryland wetlands near Nanticoke Wildlife Management Area. Farmers, developers or landowners will no longer need a permit to pollute the streams and wetlands. NRDC / Matt Rath / Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr

The Trump administration repealed the 2015 Clean Water Rule rule Thursday, a rule intended to protect 60 percent of the nation's waterways from pollution, The New York Times reported.

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By Tara Lohan

It was 1985 and privatization, deregulation and free trade were in the air. Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and President Ronald Reagan were negotiating a free trade deal — a precursor to NAFTA. Among the goods it would cover: "Water, including … mineral waters … ice and snow."

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Drink water fountain near a playground at the grounds of the former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA on Feb. 6. Bastiaan Slabbers / NurPhoto / Getty Images

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a proposal Thursday night to change Clean Water Act rules and streamline the federal permit approval process for infrastructure projects like pipelines.

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The Elkhorn Slough Reserve is one of California's few remaining coastal wetlands. Edmund Lowe Photography / Moment / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

In a move environmentalists are warning will seriously endanger drinking water and wildlife nationwide, President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly gearing up to hand yet another gift to big polluters by drastically curtailing the number of waterways and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.

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Water and sediment sampling operations during the EPA's response to the Enbridge oil spill on Morrow Lake, MI in 2010. USEPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is delaying the roll out of a controversial science proposal after receiving nearly 600,000 comments on the plan, The Hill reported Wednesday.

The proposal would have limited the kinds of studies the EPA could use to make regulations to only studies that relied on data that was publicly available and therefore reproducible. But scientists and environmentalists warned that would exclude many important public health studies that relied on confidential patient medical records, ABC News reported.

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Construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Appalachian Trail Conservancy screenshot

By Courtney Lindwall

Communities along the 300-mile proposed route for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) heard some good news this week. On Tuesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously voted to vacate a permit required by the Clean Water Act, which was previously issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The ruling stated the Army Corps lacked the authority to substitute one type of construction for another for the natural gas pipeline, which would crisscross rivers and other sensitive aquatic ecosystems hundreds of times between northern West Virginia and southern Virginia.

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Jones Gap State Park in Greenville County, South Carolina. Jason A G / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

A federal judge invalidated the Trump administration's suspension of the Clean Water Rule, effectively reinstating the Obama-era regulation in 26 states.

The 2015 rule, also known as Waters of the United States (WOTUS) defines which waters can be protected from pollution and destruction under the Clean Water Act. It protects large water bodies such as lakes and rivers, as well as small streams and wetlands.

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The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC. Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Ken Kimmell

Battle lines over President Trump's nominee for a new U.S. Supreme Court justice are now being drawn, as they should be, over crucial issues such as a woman's right to choose, health care, immigration, civil rights and criminal justice. In past nomination fights, little attention has been paid to the court's role in shaping environmental law and science-based regulation. But it would be a major mistake to overlook these issues now. The Supreme Court has an enormous impact on how U.S. environmental laws are interpreted and enforced, and a new justice could tip the balance against science-based rules on climate change, clean air and clean water.

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