Congress and the AdministrationFighting for Commonsense Federal Policy to Protect Water and Public Health
For more information on what is at stake for Clean Water at the Supreme Court with regards to Waters of the US and Sackett v. EPA, and opporunities to get engaged, see our Protect Our Waters Campaign page
The Coalition’s Federal Policy Work Group works to advance a positive water agenda that expands access to clean water for every community while also defending laws, regulations, policies, and programs, particularly the Clean Water Act, from rollbacks and changes that weaken protections for our nation’s waters.
Protecting Streams and Wetlands
We all need clean water to live healthy lives, yet the previous Administration and the Courts have thrown into confusion what waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act – leaving out or reducing protections for vital wetlands and streams that feed into our rivers, lakes, streams, and drinking water sources and are necessary for climate resiliency and healthy communities, economies, and ecosystems. As of December 2022, the Biden Administration has, once and for all, repealed former President Donald Trump’s catastrophic rollback of critical clean water protections, known as the “Dirty Water Rule.”
President Biden’s new rule on “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) serves as an appropriate reset, reinstating long standing protections to ensure big polluters can be stopped from recklessly, indiscriminately bulldozing our wetlands and dumping waste into our streams. This new rule is consistent with long standing requirements in place prior to the Trump Administration and after the Trump Administration’s rule was struck down in court. These requirements leverage science and the rule of law to more effectively fulfill the purpose of the Clean Water Act and protect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our nation’s waters.
Today’s rule is consistent with the position presented by the government and by numerous friend-of-the-court briefs in the Supreme Court case Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency. This rule simply puts into our regulatory code the standards that identify those water resources that the law protects.
Make no mistake – this fight is not over yet. The Administration, Congress, and states must continue to do more to protect clean water. More than three in four people support stronger federal protections for our nation’s waters. Too many communities, especially Indigenous communities, communities of color, and low wealth communities, still lack clean water. Our country must continue siding with people over polluters and work to ensure everyone, no matter their race, zip code, or income, has access to clean water.