Press Release | September 14, 2023

EPA rule restores ability of states, tribes, and local communities to protect clean water, SELC says

WASHINGTON–The Southern Environmental Law Center today welcomed a final rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency under section 401 of the Clean Water Act that returns to states, tribes, and local communities their authority to protect drinking water, rivers, streams, wetlands, and aquatic life threatened by large federally permitted projects. 

The following is a statement by Patrick Hunter, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, regarding the new rule:

“Today’s final Clean Water Act section 401 rule is welcome news for communities across America that deserve a seat at the table when federally permitted projects threaten local streams, rivers, lakes, and drinking water sources. The rule returns to states and tribes the authority to protect their water resources while providing transparency that will help us build the infrastructure necessary to transition to a green economy. We look forward to working with federal agencies, states, tribes, and local communities to implement the rule in a way that benefits everyone across the South.”

The authority had been in place since the 1970s, but it was curtailed severely under the Trump administration. The new rule ensures impacted and vulnerable communities have a voice in federal projects that could harm the clean water they depend on, and promotes more predictable, efficient decision-making.

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Press Contacts

Kathleen Sullivan

Senior Communications Manager (NC)

Phone: 919-945-7106
Email: [email protected]