SELC: Trump attack on nation’s clean water protections illegal, dangerous

Favorite fishing spots, crucial wetlands, and drinking water sources could lose important protections under the Trump administration’s repeal of the Clean Water Rule. (© Matt Eich)

SELC, along with 63 organizations, today filed formal objections to the Trump administration’s proposed repeal of the Clean Water Rule, which safeguards streams, wetlands, and other waters that feed drinking water sources for nearly 20 million people in the South. SELC’s objections set the stage for a legal fight against the Trump administration’s efforts to strip away crucial longstanding clean water protections.

“The Trump administration has taken this alarming first step to severely weaken America’s Clean Water Act, a bedrock of our country’s environmental and public health protections,” said Blan Holman, managing attorney for SELC’s Charleston office. “We will not allow this administration to turn back the clock nearly 50 years to a time when our rivers, lakes, and drinking water sources were threatened with pollution.“

The Clean Water Rule, the result of a multi-year process of public and scientific input, clarifies the bodies of water protected by the Clean Water Act. The rule affirmed crucial protections to more than 60 percent of our nation’s stream miles—critical to the South’s special natural resources as well as a $12 billion tourism industry. Without the protections outlined in the Clean Water Rule, industrial operations, sewage treatment facilities, and other polluters may be able to directly dump into these waterways without any public notice, threatening drinking water supplies and harming families and communities.

The SELC comments contend that the Trump administration’s attempt to repeal the Clean Water Rule is illegal, costly, and dangerous. Among other things, the proposed repeal omitted entirely the economic benefits of the nation’s wetlands, especially valuable and important in the South, particularly as protection against flooding from hurricanes and storms.

“Americans depend on safe drinking water and the ability to enjoy local rivers and lakes because of our longstanding common sense pollution protections, but the Trump-led EPA wants to tear all that down,” said Holman.

More than a million comments were received on the Clean Water Rule when it was proposed and 80% were supportive, including comments from ordinary citizens as well as state leaders, small businesses, local elected officials, sportsmen groups, health organizations, and conservation groups.

More News

Federal court throws out pipeline’s Forest Service approval

Today the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a federal approval for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross two national forests and part of th...

Looking ahead to major energy decisions in 2019, Georgians demand Fair Energy Now

High power bills burden many Georgia families, but few know why that is or what they can do about it. To change that, SELC, Georgia Interfaith P...

Op-ed: Why we support the Chemours consent order

Senior Attorney Geoff Gisler and Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette laid out their case for settlement over GenX contamination in a piece publis...

SELC sues to stop seismic blasting in the Atlantic

Southern Environmental Law Center attorneys today joined a coalition of conservation groups in filing a lawsuit to stop the Trump administration...

Administration announces plan to gut clean water protections

Today the Environmental Protection Agency released a new proposal that, if approved, would remove clean water protections that have been in place...

Virginia officials reject Dominion IRP and ACP construction halted

Today the Virginia State Corporation Commission issued an order rejecting Dominion Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan, which lays out the utility’...

More Stories