SELC: Eliminating Clean Water Protections Threatens Southern Waters

Washington, D.C. – The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) released the following statement after filing comments on the EPA’s proposed suspension 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.

“The administration’s latest effort to eliminate protections that keep our local waters clean without listening to the public or considering the impacts is just as illegal as its past efforts,” said Blan Holman, managing attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Charleston office. “The suspension of the Clean Water Rule’s protections would be costly and dangerous. We cannot protect our families and our communities from polluted waterways and wetlands without commonsense safeguards. A future of dirty rivers and lakes across the South, threatening the health and safety of our kids and our way of life, is unacceptable.”

The Clean Water Rule, the result of a multi-year process of public and scientific input, clarifies which bodies of water are protected by the landmark Clean Water Act. The rule affirmed crucial protections for more than 60 percent of our nation’s streams—streams that are critical to the South’s special natural resources and $12 billion tourism industry. The current administration is in the midst of a multi-front effort to eliminate these basic clean-water safeguards, including suspending the Clean Water Rule’s protections. Without protections provided by the Clean Water Act, 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 full comments from SELC and a coalition of 52 organizations that share a common commitment to clean water and healthy wetlands are available here.  

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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 70 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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