Proposal Slashes Critical Water Protections Under Clean Water Act
WASHINGTON – The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) released the following statement in reaction to the administration’s proposal that guts the Clean Water Act, stripping longstanding protections for streams, wetlands, and smaller waterways that feed drinking water sources for millions of people in the South.
“Big polluters could not have crafted a bigger free pass to dump if they wrote it themselves,” said Blan Holman, managing attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Charleston office. “This administration’s efforts to dismantle the Clean Water Act are a full-frontal assault on one of our country’s most important and longstanding environmental safeguards that has prevented unchecked and unlimited pollution from contaminating our waterways and drinking water sources for nearly 50 years. Protecting the South’s waters against pollution is our top priority. In the face of this serious threat, SELC and our partners will fight this dangerous proposal in court.”
For nearly 50 years, the Clean Water Act has provided essential protections to streams, rivers, and wetlands—and given state and local governments tools to keep our water clean. Today’s reckless proposal would eliminate crucial protections for more than 60 percent of our nation’s stream miles—critical to the South’s special natural resources, as well as a $12 billion tourism industry. Without these clean water protections, industrial operations, sewage treatment facilities, and other polluters may be able to directly dump into these waterways without any public notice, threatening drinking water supplies and harming families and communities.
The Southern Environmental Law Center has taken the administration to federal court over recent efforts to weaken clean water protections and won a major victory for clean water protections when a federal judge in South Carolina blocked the administration’s efforts to delay the 2015 Clean Water Rule, resulting in better protections for streams and wetlands in 22 states. SELC will oppose this, and any other, actions by the administration to clear the way for polluters to contaminate the water our families, communities, and economies depend on.
For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 70 attorneys and nine offices across the region, 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 our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org