The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a sweeping new rule that will protect drinking water supplies and consumers from contaminants in water, according to a draft released Tuesday.
The draft, released by the agency’s rulemaking office, is the latest to bolster the Trump administration’s commitment to the Clean Water Act.
The EPA’s rule, the Clean Power Plan, has been criticized by water and environmental groups and the courts for its lack of detail and broad enforcement power.
Trump’s rule aims to cut down on carbon emissions by limiting pollution from power plants.
The rule is expected to be finalized by the end of the year, although the president has repeatedly said it could take as long as two years to complete.
While the draft is a first step toward the agency implementing the law, many aspects of the rule will be difficult to enforce and would likely require court challenges.
The agency is also considering whether to exempt the oil and gas industry, a key supporter of the Clean Energy and Security Act, from its requirement to provide clean drinking water.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has argued that the rule is needed to help protect water supplies from pollution from new and old drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
The proposed rule will apply to the United States, but it would apply nationwide if enacted.
The EPA has not said what will happen to people who do not have clean drinking-water systems.
The law allows states to set rules that require water supplies to be treated with a specific type of chemical or treatment to reduce the risk of contamination, but many states have not enforced the rule.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other environmental groups have called the rule “unworkable.”
A federal appeals court ruled in 2016 that the EPA should not regulate water quality and that states can regulate it.
A similar court challenge is pending in the U.K. More than 500,000 Americans live in areas that do not meet federal guidelines for drinking-potable water standards, according the EPA.
A group of California voters has filed a lawsuit against the EPA in the Eastern District of California, saying the rule violates the Clean Air Act and the Voting Rights Act.
In a statement, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Tuesday’s draft rule “will do nothing to prevent the spread of unsafe drinking water.”