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Clean Water Action: Dirty Water in the White House; Polluter Crony at EPA

Washington, D.C. – President Trump today signed an executive order to start the process to withdraw protections for some streams, wetlands and other water bodies that play a critical role in preventing floods, filtering pollution and feeding drinking water sources. Clean Water Action President and CEO Bob Wendelgass released the following statement.

“This Dirty Water Order is dangerous, counterproductive, and ridiculous. It shows that President Trump is a snake oil salesman who used drinking water as an empty talking point to get votes. His Dirty Water Order will be a massive waste of taxpayer dollars and puts our nation’s vital water resources, including the drinking water sources for 117 million Americans, at risk.”

“President Trump is clearly more interested in putting polluter profits first – earlier this month he signed away basic protections for streams  from coal mining waste and today he released his Dirty Water Order. The President and Scott Pruitt and Republicans in Congress don’t get it. We don’t get clean water by gutting protections for streams and wetlands, which are part of our water infrastructure. We can’t support small businesses by putting the infrastructure they rely on at risk of destruction. And we won’t protect public health by ignoring science.”

 

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BlueGreen Alliance Statement on Executive Order to Roll Back the Clean Water Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 28, 2017) Today, President Trump issued an Executive Order rolling back the Clean Water Rule, which clarifies Clean Water Act protections that impact the drinking water supply of over one hundred million Americans. Following the announcement, BlueGreen Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement:

“Protecting our waters, the most sacred of our natural resources, is simply common sense. Today’s executive order, designed to gut the Clean Water Rule, puts the health of 60 percent of America’s water bodies and drinking water for millions of Americans at risk of pollution.

“Hundreds of thousands of miles of ecosystems are now squarely in the crosshairs of bad actors, endangering the health of our environment and citizens. Keeping our environment clean and healthy strengthens communities and the economy. Today’s executive order is a clear indication from the Trump administration that our environment and our people come second to big business interests.”

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African American Leaders Reject Trump’s “Dirty Water Order”

OAKLAND, Calif. — Today, as Trump signed an executive order gutting protections for wetlands and drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans, he signed another attempting to strengthen White House partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. African American leaders in the climate justice movement denounced his efforts to appeal to Black Americans while signing away their rights to clean water.

“Trump’s Dirty Water Order is a direct attack on low-income communities and communities of color who have been disproportionately affected by industrial pollution contaminating clean and safe drinking water,” said Kim Noble, Green For All National Partnerships Director and graduate of Fort Valley State University. “On a day when he is seeking to strengthen relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and African American communities, Trump is giving free rein to polluters over our rights to safe, clean drinking water and putting families at risk. It’s time to prioritize frontline families over polluter profits, and strengthen environmental protections, not weaken them.”

“More than 1000 days after the water crisis began in Flint, we still don’t have clean water. If Trump really wants to help communities like ours, he needs to learn the lesson from Flint that there are no shortcuts to clean water and safe, healthy communities,” added Nayyirah Shariff, Director of Flint Rising. “This Dirty Water Order puts polluter profits over clean, safe drinking water. That is unacceptable.”

“Environmental justice advocates have worked for decades to ensure that clean water for all is a priority for the federal government. President Trump is on a dirty water roll, first removing protections from dumping coal into waterways, and now giving EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt the power to undo critical water protections. As a graduate of ​two HBCUs​, this is very concerning as it puts polluters first and safe drinking water for millions of people at threat, especially environmental justice communities,” said WE ACT For Environmental Justice Dr. Adrienne Hollis, Director of Federal Policy and graduate of Jackson State University and Meharry Medical College.

“As a graduate of two historically black institutions, I am infuriated that on the same day the administration hosts our Historically Black Colleges and Universities, it also attempts to turn back the hand of time on progress made to alleviate water pollution in urban and rural environments by the previous Administration,” said Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll, Founder of Green The Church and a graduate of Morehouse School of Religion and Florida Memorial University. “Water is used as a part of every religion known to humanity. It is the purity of water that we seek during baptism rituals. Baptism in polluted water takes on a totally different meaning. There is an air in this country that desires to treat the masses as peasantry. If this form of total and un-integris capitalism is allowed to continue it will destroy the fabric, balance and health of our democracy. Green The Church stands solidly against Trump’s Dirty Water Order.”

“I urge the President to reconsider his actions to roll back clean water and climate change policies that will negatively impact urban and rural communities the most,” said Gilbert Campbell, Co-Founder and Principal of Volt Energy and graduate of Howard University. “Instead of inflicting our most vulnerable children with lead and asthma, let’s invest in their health and future by investing in clean technologies and smart policy.”

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Earthjustice: Trump Threatens Drinking Water for One in Three People

Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen: “President Trump’s reckless order is an assault on each and every one of us, our health, and our well-being”.

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Trump signed an executive order that puts safeguards for the drinking water of one in three people across the country at risk and threatens to pollute thousands of lakes and rivers. Specifically, Trump is ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to dismantle the Clean Water Rule, and encourages the Agency to replace it with the weakest possible rule that would leave 60 percent of nation’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands without strong federal protection against toxic pollution.

Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen issued the following statement:

“President Trump’s reckless order is an assault on each and every one of us, our health, and our well-being.

“By attacking the Clean Water Rule and fundamental protections under the Clean Water Act, the President is putting the drinking water of 117 million people at risk, demonstrating that he puts the interests of corporate polluters above the public’s health.

“This action is a giveaway to polluters that will result in more contaminated waterways, more destroyed wetlands,  and will harm small businesses and people in communities across the nation who rely on streams and wetlands for clean water.

“Earthjustice will use the full strength of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws to protect our communities and secure our future. If the new Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and President Trump try to ignore the law, Earthjustice will continue to challenge them in court to ensure this Administration does not dismantle the basic mission of the EPA – the protection of our health and the environment.”

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Business Leaders Criticize President’s Order to Gut Clean Water Rule

“The EPA should continue working with business to reduce pollution, not let upstream polluters continue to damage water sources for downstream businesses.”

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which with its member organizations represents more than 250,000 businesses, responded to President Trump’s executive order to undo an EPA rule to protect clean waterways.

The following statement may be attributed to David Levine, CEO of ASBC:

“Undoing this critical environmental rule is naive. It will actually hurt most businesses and put jobs in jeopardy. Worse, it will distract the EPA from building on the progress it has made in stewardship of our natural resources — which all businesses depend on.”

“The EPA should continue working with business to reduce pollution, not let upstream polluters continue to damage water sources for downstream businesses. This is a well written rule, extensively commented on by the public and business, and clarifies the key questions raised by the Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006.”

Independent, national polling (PDF) shows that most small business owners support federal protections of American waterways, with 80% favoring rules protecting upstream headwaters as in the Clean Water Rule. That support crossed political lines: 91% of Democrats, 73% of Independents and 78% of Republicans supported the protections. In addition, the poll found that two-thirds (67%) of small business owners were concerned that water pollution could harm their business in the future.

ASBC has long supported the rule and most recently helped organize more than 200 businesses sign an amicus brief to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a lawsuit against the rule is pending.

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Audubon to White House: And What’s Your Plan?

If the White House moves to revise and weaken regulations for clean water without science-based replacements, there’s a path only for polluters.

WASHINGTON—Today, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to revise or rescind the Waters of the United States rule, which currently protects wetlands and streams. In response, the National Audubon Society issued the following statement:

“Clean water is the key to life, and protecting wetlands and streams is good for every person and bird in America,” said David Yarnold (@david_yarnold), president and CEO of Audubon.

“By playing games with the safety of our water, the administration puts us in danger and gives a free lunch to special interests. Wasn’t Flint a strong enough message?

“Millions of birds like herons, cranes and migratory ducks depend on clean and healthy wetlands and streams all across the country. We need a science-based plan for keeping our water clean. Is that too much to ask?

“Audubon will continue working at the local, state and federal level to fight for clean water for all of us.”

Removing these safeguards will threaten America’s isolated wetlands, which provide crucial habitat for millions of ducks and geese in particular. Many migratory species such as the Mallard, Blue-winged Teal and Northern Pintail spend much of their lives in places protected under the Obama-era WOTUS rule. Their breeding grounds in the Prairie Potholes Region and wintering grounds along the Gulf Coast will now face an uncertain future after President Trump’s executive order.

Audubon strongly encourages using the best-available science to determine commonsense protections for birds and the places they need. Click here to read more about how clean water safeguards and other Environmental Protection Agency regulations have helped birds and people.

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

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Trump Launches Attack on Clean Water

WASHINGTON (Feb. 28, 2017) – President Trump signed an executive order today directing his administration to rewrite the Clean Water Rule.

Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, made the following statement:

“Instead of protecting the things we hold dear like our tap water, our rivers or our health, President Trump is, once again, protecting big polluters.

“Gutting this rule would threaten the wetlands and streams that feed the drinking water sources for 1 in 3 people—or 117 million Americans.  It would put our rivers, lakes, marshes and bays at risk of pollution.

“The Clean Water Rule’s safeguards are grounded in science and law.  The rule was developed over many years, after more than 1 million public comments. We all rely on healthy wetlands to curb flooding, filter pollutants, support fish, waterfowl and wildlife, and feed our rivers and lakes.

“We will stand up to this reckless assault. We’ll stand up for clean water and a healthy future for all Americans.”

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Environment America

“President Trump’s order turns the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency on its head: Instead of protecting the drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans, he is telling the EPA to stop protecting these waters from polluters. It defies common sense, sound science and the will of the American people,” John Rumpler, Environment America

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Trump signed an executive order instructing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its defense of the clean water rule in federal court. John Rumpler, Environment America’s senior attorney and clean water program director, issued the following statement:

President Trump’s order turns the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency on its head: Instead of protecting the drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans, he is telling the EPA to stop protecting these waters from polluters. It defies common sense, sound science and the will of the American people.

Clean water is vital to our ecology, our health, and our quality of life.  We depend on our rivers and streams for safe drinking water.

That is why more than 800,000 Americans – including more than 1,000 business owners, local officials, farmers, and health professionals – all supported the historic clean water rule.  In fact, 79 local officials and 234 businesses recently joined Environment America Research & Policy Center on amicus briefs in defense of the Rule in court.

Finalized in 2015 with widespread public and scientific support, the Rule restored federal protections to half the nation’s streams, which help provide drinking water to one in every three Americans.  The rule also millions of acres of wetlands that filter and protect America’s great waterways from the Great Lakes to the Chesapeake Bay to Puget Sound.

Polluters and their allies have sought to overturn the Clean Water Rule in court. And the Trump administration announced its intent to dismantle the Rule in a statement shortly after inauguration day. Today’s executive order instructs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to move forward with a new rulemaking that would remove protections restored under the Clean Water Rule.   The order also instructs the agency to stop defending the Rule – even to withdraw the extensive brief the agency already filed with the 6th circuit court of appeals.

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Sierra Club: Trump to Gut Rule Protecting America’s Clean Water

Washington, DC — Today, Donald Trump will sign an executive order to review and ultimately undo the Clean Water Rule. The rule protects millions of acres of wetlands and streams across the country that filter pollutants, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and absorb floodwaters while protecting the drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans.

The Clean Water Rule took years to craft. The Environmental Protection Agency held more than 400 meetings with stakeholders and received more than one million public comments, the majority of which were in support of the rule.

Trump’s executive order to undo the scientifically based Clean Water Rule and create a lengthy process will continue the confusion in what waters are protected by the Clean Water Act.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

“Today, Donald Trump is sacrificing the right to clean drinking water for more than 117 million Americans just to make corporate polluters richer. After just weeks in office, Trump has made it obvious that he could not care less about protecting the water we drink. First, he signed away safeguards protecting our streams from coal-mining waste and now, he wants to gut a rule that protects the drinking water for more than one in three Americans.

“Trump’s Dirty Water Order is a massive waste of taxpayer resources that will leave wetlands and streams at risk of pollution and destruction. These are the places families swim, fish, play, and enjoy, and when we leave them unprotected, we know from experience that polluters will exploit them. After all, the EPA and the Clean Water Act were created in large part because of the Cuyahoga River disaster, when a river became so polluted it actually caught on fire.

“Trump’s decision today is a path to dirtier water and more toxic disasters. Like we did after the Cuyahoga fire, we will use every avenue available to us to fight back and protect America’s water resources.”

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Executive Order Takes Aim at Our National Parks; Threatens Clean Water for All

A little more than a month since President Trump was sworn into office, we have seen his administration take a series of actions to weaken or eliminate the very protections our parks depend on. These actions include eliminating protections for our waterways from mining, a hiring freeze making it impossible for the National Park Service to fill its more than 1,700 vacant, full-time positions, and orders that aim to eliminate or rollback safeguards for public health and the environment. And there is more.

Read more here.

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Tom Steyer Statement on Trump’s Order to Rescind Wetland Protections

NextGen Climate President Tom Steyer issued the following statement in response to Donald Trump’s Executive Order to rescind crucial wetland protections:

“This order endangers the health and safety of Americans, and it underscores the fact that Donald Trump always puts corporate interests ahead of the best interests of the American people. These wetland protections help ensure that over 100 million Americans have access to clean and safe drinking water. Access to safe drinking water is a human right, and Trump’s order is a direct violation of this right.”

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Administration Must Fulfill Promise to Provide “Crystal Clear Water”

Washington – Today, President Trump issued an executive order calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back Clean Water Act protections for millions of wetland acres and stream miles, putting fish, wildlife, and communities at risk. Unusually, the order directs the EPA to consider Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in the 2006 Rapanos case when rewriting a rule defining which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act. Scalia’s opinion in this case failed to capture a majority of the Supreme Court and was not followed by the Bush or Obama administrations nor by any federal appellate court since.

“Every American should have a right to access clean, safe water, regardless of their zip code,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “During the campaign, the President promised to ensure ‘crystal clear water’ for all Americans. Yet today’s order, if implemented, would allow more pollution in the drinking water sources of more than one-third of all Americans and would roll back protections for many of America’s streams and wetlands, including seasonal wetlands that are home to more than half of North American migratory waterfowl. This is an approach that the Supreme Court has previously rejected, specifically because it is not based upon sound science, is inconsistent with letter and spirit of the Clean Water Act as passed by Congress, and does not follow existing case law. It will be struck down by the Court eventually, but in the meantime our waters will have fewer protections. America can do better and we urge the administration to fulfill its promise of ‘crystal clear water’.”

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LCV Statement on Possible Trump EO on Clean Water Rule

Washington, DC— In response to media accounts that President Trump is soon to issue an Executive Order to roll back the critical Clean Water Rule, LCV Legislative Representative Madeleine Foote issued the following statement:

“This executive order is about one thing: protecting polluters at the expense of our communities and their access to clean drinking water. Time and again, the public has demonstrated their support for the commonsense clean water protections outlined in the Clean Water Rule. The rule protects the drinking water of 1 in 3 people living in this country, including those who voted for President Trump. Dismantling these clean water protections will put safe drinking water at risk without providing businesses the certainty and clarity they need while wasting taxpayer money on new, polluter-friendly regulation. We are equally alarmed by rumors of President Trump’s plan to gut efforts to reduce carbon pollution. We will continue to go to the mat to defend these critical rules and our bedrock environmental laws, and we know that businesses, cities, states, and other countries are determined to build on the all the progress we’ve made. At town halls across the country this week, voters are putting President Trump and polluter allies in Congress on notice. They would be wise to listen to the people and change course.”

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Rollback of Clean Water Rule Puts Drinking Water for 1 in 3 Americans at Risk

Washington, DC – President Trump today is expected to sign an executive order instructing the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to abandon the Clean Water Rule, likely stripping protection from small streams and wetlands from which all of our rivers flow, and putting the drinking water supplies for one in three Americans at risk.

“Few things are more fundamental to our health than the water we drink. No one should have to worry about pollution when they turn on the tap,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers.

“Coming just days after he eliminated the rule protecting streams from coal mining pollution, President Trump’s order to roll back the Clean Water Rule is another major blow against river health and clean drinking water,” Irvin said.

The Clean Water Rule clarifies which streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act, and which are not. Over a decade ago, two U.S. Supreme Court decisions raised questions over which of the nation’s waters are subject to federal protection under the Clean Water Act, and this confusion placed millions of miles of streams, particularly headwater streams, and millions of acres of wetlands in jeopardy. The Clean Water Rule remedied that situation.

Across the country, small streams and wetlands contribute to the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans and provide tremendous economic benefits to the public in the form of reduced flooding, pollution filtration, groundwater recharge, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities.

“Without the Clean Water Rule’s critical protections, innumerable small streams and wetlands that are essential for drinking water supplies, flood protection, and fish and wildlife habitat will be vulnerable to unregulated pollution, dredging and filling, “ Irvin said.

More than 1,200 individually peer-reviewed studies provided the scientific foundation for the Clean Water Rule, and over one million comments demonstrated overwhelming popular support for strong protection for the country’s small streams and wetlands.

“President Trump just threw away carefully crafted safeguards that were based on strong economic arguments, sound science and broad public support, “ Irvin said. “As the nation’s voice for rivers, American Rivers will fight to safeguard the rivers and streams that connect us all, and to protect clean drinking water for American families and future generations.”

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Trump Administration Puts America’s Waters at Risk: Izaak Walton League Opposes Rollback of Clean Water Rule

Gaithersburg, MD – Clean water and abundant wetlands are essential for hunting and fishing, America’s outdoor recreation economy, and public health. Yet today the Trump Administration took the first step to roll back the Clean Water Rule, which protects small streams and wetlands that are vital to the nation.

The Izaak Walton League of America believes the Clean Water Rule is fundamentally sound and that further delay in restoring protections for streams and wetlands risks long-term damage to water quality, habitat for fish and wildlife, and our economy.

Unfortunately, by issuing an Executive Order to rescind or revise the Clean Water Rule, the Trump Administration has set a different course. This effort is even more troubling because the president directs the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to consider defining waters protected by the Clean Water Act based on an extreme minority opinion from the Supreme Court. That opinion, authored by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, rejected the intent of Congress in passing the Clean Water Act and is unsupported by the overwhelming science on the interconnected nature of waters.

Under this opinion, the Clean Water Act would not protect small streams, such as headwaters, unless they flow continuously. Moreover, it would also deny protection for many wetlands – including prairie potholes critical to migratory waterfowl and other wildlife – that lack a continuous surface connection to larger waters.

To protect our nation’s drinking water resources and economy, revisions to the Clean Water Rule must not rely on Justice Scalia’s opinion to define waters protected by the Clean Water Act. Furthermore, any new rule must:

  • Be grounded in science. The existing rule is supported by more than 1,200 studies demonstrating the effects of upstream waters on downstream waters.
  • Effectively safeguard streams, wetlands, and other waters as required by the Clean Water Act. The purpose of the Clean Water Act is to improve water quality nationwide. It is impossible to achieve that goal without protecting streams from pollution and small wetlands from being drained and filled.
  • Ensure America’s outdoor traditions thrive for generations to come. Clean water and abundant wetlands are essential to hunting and angling. If this critical habitat is degraded, our hunting and angling traditions – and the $646 billion outdoor recreation economy – will suffer.

It is impossible to achieve the fundamental purpose of the Clean Water Act – “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters” – without protecting the waters covered by the Clean Water Rule, including tributary streams and small wetlands. The administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama rejected using Justice Scalia’s opinion to define waters covered by the Clean Water Act. If the Trump Administration bases a new rule on this opinion, many of the waters important to hunters and anglers and vital to the outdoor recreation economy would lose Clean Water Act protections.

As the Trump Administration moves forward, the sportsmen and women of the Izaak Walton League will fight for our most critical natural resource: clean water.

 

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