EPA extends Clean Water Rule comment period

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added 30 days to the public comment period for the Trump administration’s proposal to repeal the Clean Water Rule. The rule, issued in 2015, clarifies which wetlands and streams are protected by the Clean Water Act. The administration’s attempt to undo the rule is a first step in in its bid to severely limit the protective reach of the Clean Water Act and eliminate safeguards for nearly 2 million miles of streams and most of the 110 million acres of wetlands in the continental United States.

The comment period now runs until September 27. You can submit comments here.

The extension comes after citizens groups and public officials strongly urged the EPA to give the public more than a mere 30 days to comment on the proposed Clean Water Rule repeal. In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, 22 U.S. Senators noted that the Obama administration allowed the public to comment on the original rule for 180 days in 2014 and received more than 1 million public comments.

“The 30-day comment period,” the senators wrote, “is far too short to allow full review, careful analysis, and heartfelt feedback from as many of the millions of Americans potentially impacted by this endeavor as wish to share their views, including the 117 million (or one in three Americans) who receive drinking water from the water bodies affected by this proposal.”

EPA kicked off its Clean Water Rule repeal with an announcement in the Federal Register on July 27. SELC is working with partners and communities throughout the region to ensure that their opposition to the rollback becomes part of the public record. SELC is submitting formal comments, detailing how dismantlement of federal protections presents a distinct hazard to the waters of the United States, and is prepared to challenge in court both the Clean Water Rule repeal and any new “Trump Rule” that weakens clean water protections.

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