Congress Holds Hearing on Clean Water Rule

The Clean Water Rule was put in place by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to help communities and to restore protections for wetlands, streams, and other bodies of water that supply drinking water to 117 million Americans.

June 12, 2019

Every American should have access to clean water, but the Trump administration has threatened that basic right by proposing to roll back this vital Clean Water Rule.

In addition, clean water is critical for our local economies. Clean waterways provide economic livelihoods for individuals employed in water-related jobs, such as caretaking, environmental conservation officers, fisheries management specialists, and commercial fishermen. In addition to recreation-related employment, clean waters are a powerful economic engine supporting millions of jobs across manufacturing and transportation sectors.

In a letter sent by the BlueGreen Alliance earlier this year to the EPA, we said, “We need to put the health of our residents and our economy first. The EPA should keep the Clean Water Rule in place to protect bodies of water that help drive our local economies and supply our children and families with clean, safe drinking water.”

Experts say the proposal by the administration ignores how small streams and wetlands connect to larger bodies of waterand how pollution heads downstream. In a statement about the proposal to weaken the Clean Water Rule, Collin O’Mara of the National Wildlife Federation said, “This proposal eliminates Clean Water Act protections for at least half of the nation’s wetlands and millions of miles of streams. This change would cause catastrophic impacts to America’s wildlife over time.”

O’Mara continued, “At a time when communities across the country are facing drinking water and flooding crises exacerbated by climate change, we call upon the EPA to rescind this misguided proposal that would make it easier to damage our streams and wetlands, destroy fish and wildlife habitat, threaten our communities with increased flooding, and pollute our drinking water.”

Now, Congress is set to weigh in. The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife is holding hearing on the impact of the Clean Water Rule today. Advocates for clean water pointed out how rolling back and replacing this rule with one that weakens these vital protections would put people, wildlife, and hundreds of thousands of miles of ecosystems at risk.

Find out more about the hearing here.

Congress should step in and stop the effort to gut clean water protections and instead embrace the Clean Water Rule as-is. Every American deserves clean, safe drinking water. The current, strong Clean Water Rule will help us achieve that.