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Chair DeFazio Introduces Legislation to Block Implementation of Trump’s Dirty Water Rule

May 8, 2020
Press Release
Trump’s Dirty Water Rule would roll back bipartisan clean water protections for streams, rivers, and wetlands, jeopardizing access to clean water for millions of Americans in the middle of a global pandemic

Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced the Clean Water for All Act, which would prohibit the implementation of the Trump administration’s Dirty Water Rule – the most draconian rollback of clean water protections in the history of the Clean Water Act. In addition, the bill would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to start over and instead develop a new regulation to protect rivers, streams, and wetlands, that is based on the best available science, and whose implementation will not degrade water quality, contaminate drinking water, or increase local flood-related risks.

On April 21, 2020, the Trump administration published its final rule to roll back bipartisan clean water protections for the Nation’s rivers, streams, and wetlands, jeopardizing the drinking water of more than 117 million American households. This new rule radically reinterprets decades-old Clean Water Act protections endorsed by Republican and Democratic administrations alike – virtually assuring the destruction of rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands throughout the nation.  Internal EPA documents estimate that the Dirty Water Rule would eliminate Federal Clean Water protections on as many as 60 percent of stream miles in the lower 48 States that do not flow year round – almost 2 million stream miles – and an estimated 110 million acres of wetlands. That’s why President Trump’s new rule is best described as the “Dirty Water Rule.”

The Clean Water for All Act would prevent this rule from being implemented.

“Though the Trump administration has shuffled through political appointees managing environmental portfolios, a clear message has been sent to each of them—it’s time to wage a war on our nation’s water,” said Chair DeFazio. “By removing critical protections at the behest of industry, Trump’s Dirty Water Rule will make streams and waterways more vulnerable to pollution, which is devastating for the 117 million Americans who rely on these waterways for drinking water. I have been sounding the alarm on this plan for months, but we can’t wait any longer to act. That’s why I’ve introduced the Clean Water for All Act, legislation to block the Dirty Water Rule from taking effect. I remember the bad old days when American rivers were so polluted they literally caught fire and couldn’t sustain life. Back then, Americans demanded the Federal government and Congress establish regulations to protect our rivers and streams – and now they are calling on us to block Trump’s Dirty Water Rule from moving forward. Putting the safety of our nation’s water at risk, especially during a global pandemic, is exceptionally cruel.”

Watch Chair DeFazio discuss the importance of blocking the Dirty Water Rule from taking effect here.

“Americans deserve the ‘crystal clear’ water President Trump promised us. We want swimmable beaches, clean drinking water and healthy fishing streams,” said Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “This bill upholds longstanding, science-based protections for waterways and wetlands around this country that provide critical nurseries for fish, trap dangerous flood water and filter pollution, and feed communities’ drinking water supplies.”

Bill text can be found here.

List of supporters:

American Rivers
American Sustainable Business Council
Clean Water Action
Environment America
Environmental Law and Policy Center
League of Conservation Voters
National Parks Conservation Association
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Sierra Club
Southern Environmental Law Center
Trout Unlimited