The Bush administration weakened protection for wetlands, streams, and swamps across the U.S. yesterday by making changes to the Clean Water Act, despite the objections of the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The changes, which were proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers and approved by the White House, make it easier for developers, mining companies, and others to obtain permits to dredge and fill wetlands. Supporters of the plan claim it will reduce bureaucracy and enable the government to focus on genuine threats to wetlands. Opponents, however, argue that the plan has no scientific basis and represents an abandonment of the nation’s no-net-loss policy, which has guided wetlands regulations since the first President Bush was in office.
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