mississippi flooding
Water is pumped over the Valley Park levee on the Meramec River in Valley Park, Missouri, in this National Guard picture taken Dec. 31, 2015 Senior Airman Patrick P. Evenson/Missouri Air National Guard/Reuters

The Biden administration announced on Friday a significant Trump-era rule reversal that will impact which waterways will receive federal water quality protections and protect wetlands, streams, and rivers from pollution risks.

In 2015 the Obama administration expanded the scope of the 1972 Clean Water Act. The move increased the number of waterways qualified for protection and further limited the number of chemicals and pollution that could be accepted as safe. In 2019 Trump administration legally appealed the Obama changes stating they infringed on the rights of farmers, businesses, and real estate developers.

Friday's revision was made by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army looking at the definitions established before the Obama administration's updates in 2015. The new rule restores protections for hundreds of thousands of waterways across the country that lost protection during the Trump administration. CNBC reports the new rule also provides a more substantial definition and federal legal protections for the "waters of the United States."

The new Biden rule is less expansive than the Obama-era policy but has already been labeled by conservatives as overbearing and restrictive toward businesses The Washington Post reports.

Republican Senator from West Virginia, Shelley Moore Capito, said in a statement that the EPA changes were an example of "regulatory overreach" that negatively impacts landowners. Capito said the new regulations "will unfairly burden America's farmers, ranchers, miners, infrastructure builders, and landowners."

"Unfortunately, this rule would move us backwards by making more projects subject to federal permitting requirements and adding more bureaucratic red tape," said Capito. Capito is a U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works member.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement the goal of the rule revision was "to deliver a durable definition of WOTUS that safeguards our nation's waters, strengthens economic opportunity, and protects people's health while providing greater certainty for farmers, ranchers, and landowners."

In October, The Washington Post reported U.S. Supreme Court heard a case that objected to the reach of the Clean Water Act, with conservative members of the court stating the act was too expansive. The revisions announced on Friday further defined the law's oversight in terms of "traditional navigable waterways." The EPA said the new language should prevent the law from being revised for clarity.

"This final rule recognizes the essential role of the nation's water resources in communities across the nation," Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael L. Connor said in the press release. "The rule's clear and supportable definition of waters of the United States will allow for more efficient and effective implementation and provide the clarity long desired by farmers, industry, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders."