Press Release | February 28, 2017

President Trump’s Executive Order, EPA Cuts Would Threaten Clean Drinking Water

Washington, D.C.–The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) released the following statement ahead of President Donald Trump’s expected executive order attacking the Clean Water Rule and in advance of his address to Congress, where he is expected to call for major budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, threatening thousands of jobs in the Southeast and the health and safety of Southeast families.

“These actions are a one-two punch to the Southeast. This executive order defies common sense—you can’t open the door to stream and wetlands pollution and expect our region’s rivers to remain clean and healthy sources of drinking water,” said Navis Bermudez, SELC Deputy Legislative Director. “Furthermore, our region’s coastal communities depend on wetlands as vital protections against storms and floods.  This is a major attack against the nation’s Clean Water Act, which has provided fundamental water protections for nearly 45 years and guaranteed clean water for all Americans.”

“On top of that, the expected cuts to EPA’s budget would not affect some meaningless Washington bureaucracy; this is a job-killing action that threatens communities, economies and families throughout the Southeast,” said Nat Mund, SELC Legislative Director.  “The devil is in the details, but if early reports are to be believed, we will be facing major cuts in core protections.  If the Trump Administration will not stand up to big money special interests, the Southern Environmental Law Center will step in to defend these important protections for Southeastern communities.”

After years of uncertainty, the EPA’s Clean Water Rule clarified environmental protections for streams, wetlands, and other waters that feed drinking water sources for nearly 20 million people in the Southeast. This rule protects 60 percent of our nation’s stream miles and our region’s $12 billion tourism industry. Without the protections outlined in the Clean Water Rule, factories, sewage treatment facilities, and other polluters may be able to directly dump into these waterways without any public notice. In response to attacks on these crucial safeguards to waters nationwide, SELC will continue fighting alongside Southeastern communities to demand clean water and the preservation of all that makes this region so special.


About the Southern Environmental Law Center:

The Southern Environmental Law Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. With nine offices across the region (Charlottesville, VA; Chapel Hill, NC; Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; Washington, DC; Birmingham, AL; Nashville, TN; Asheville, NC; and Richmond, VA), 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 the South’s natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region.

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