News | December 30, 2022

Federal clean water protections restored for many waterways

Grand Savanna Bay Nature Preserve in southwestern Alabama. (@Hunter Nichols)

Below is a note from Senior Attorney Kelly Moser, who leads SELC’s Clean Water Defense Initiative, to advocates who joined us in challenging the Trump era rollbacks of federal clean water protections.

Senior Attorney Kelly Moser

Critical clean water protections were just restored across our country and we couldn’t have done it without you. 

News just broke that the Biden administration reinstated federal Clean Water Act safeguards against pollution and destruction for many of the streams, wetlands, lakes, and other key waterways in the South and across the country. Previously, the Trump administration removed these protections in its “Navigable Waters Protection Rule.” 

I wanted you to be one of the first to know about this important announcement because you played a crucial role in restoring these protections. Many of you have been involved in this fight, weighing in at critical moments. By joining SELC in our advocacy work, you are a vital part of protecting our environment and keeping our Southern waters safe.  

As a result of our efforts, Lake Keowee in South Carolina, which provides drinking water for 400,000 people, will remain a pristine body of water. More than 200 wetland acres adjacent to the Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina will again have protections against development. And that’s just to name a couple of the many Southern waterways that will be cleaner thanks to the restored legal protections.  

This is a major step forward, but there is more work to be done. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished this year to protect clean water and will continue to work tirelessly in 2023 and beyond.