Conservation Groups Sue Over Threat to Clean Water Rule

NRDC and the National Wildlife Federation filed a lawsuit today to protect American waters.

NRDC and the National Wildlife Federation have sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for illegally delaying the implementation of the Clean Water Rule until 2020 and gambling with Americans’ health.

The Obama-era policy, a long-needed clarification of existing law, extended crucial Clean Water Act protections to streams, wetlands, and other smaller bodies of water.

“The American people have made it crystal-clear they want to see our rivers and streams protected,” said Jan Goldman-Carter, the director for wetlands and water resources at the National Wildlife Federation. “They want to be able to fish in the local stream, swim in a nearby lake, and turn on the tap and get a glass of safe, clean water to drink.”

The Clean Water Rule protects the drinking water supplies for 117 million Americans and was backed by a clear scientific consensus at the time of its writing in 2015. (To the tune of 1,200 peer-reviewed publications, a lengthy comment period, 400 stakeholder meetings, and years of public debate.) The Trump administration plans to replace the rule with something far weaker—and likely far friendlier to industry polluters.

“The administration’s attack on clean water violates the law and runs roughshod over public concern about their waterways,” said Jon Devine, a senior attorney for NRDC. “It’s dangerous, and that’s why we’re going to court.”

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