Administration’s Repeal of Clean Water Act Protections is Another Giveaway to Polluters

Announced Rule is Latest Step in Multi-Year Attack on Clean Water

WASHINGTON – The Southern Environmental Law Center released the following statement in reaction to the Trump administration’s announcement of its final rule to repeal Clean Water Act protections provided by the Clean Water Rule.

“Once again, this federal administration is attacking our nation’s clean water defenses to help big polluters instead of protecting our families and communities,” said Blan Holman, managing attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Charleston office. “They want to pretend that pollution doesn’t flow downstream, when everyone knows that the best way to keep water clean is to stop harmful pollution at its source. Our states depend on the Clean Water Act to protect communities from flooding and unlimited pollution. This administration wants to slash environmental protection in this country, but we are going to fight them every inch of the way.”

The administration’s action threatens protections for the waters that more than 32 million people in the South depend on for drinking water and that support more than $130 billion in Southern tourism annually, as well as the natural resources and beauty that makes this region a great place to live and raise a family. Without these basic safeguards, industrial operations, sewage treatment facilities, and other polluters may be able to directly dump into waterways without any public notice, threatening drinking water supplies and harming families and communities.

This repeal is step one of the administration’s multi-faceted attack to decimate the Clean Water Act. In addition to repealing existing standards, the EPA has also proposed to go even further in step two, which would redefine the waters protected under the Clean Water Act and strip away protections that have safeguarded American waterways and drinking water sources since the Nixon era.

Today’s action repeals the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which garnered more than a million comments from state leaders, small businesses, local elected officials, sportsmen groups, health organizations and conservation groups, with over 87 percent of the commenters in support of the rule.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, along with 63 organizations, filed comments opposing the repeal. The repeal rule’s finalization sets the stage for future legal challenges.

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For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 80 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org

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