Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Statement on Clean Water Rule Executive Order

BOSTON – This administration needs to answer to the American people why it’s sidelining EPA’s public health mission and the law and putting our nation’s health, economy and our national security at increased risk.

An Executive Order may give the illusion they’re fulfilling a campaign promise to gut the EPA, but it doesn’t “trump” a rule. Only a new rule based on a new record can make current rules go away. The only thing these orders do is make clear this Administration will defer needed public health protections for the American people for the sake of partisan politics. In fact, these EOs reflect the administration’s fear that the court will find the rules are necessary and legally solid – as EPA has said all along. They can’t change science and facts, the bedrock of the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule, to fit their campaign rhetoric.

A Clean Water Rule Executive Order just continues to deny 117 million people in the US of the comfort of knowing the waters they rely on for drinking water are not being protected. And a Clean Power Plan Executive Order doesn’t stop the clean energy transition; it simply sends a signal to the business and international community that Trump would rather hand over our leadership on climate action to China.



AGs: “We Won’t Hesitate To Protect Our People And Our Environment—Including By Aggressively Opposing In Court President Trump’s Actions That Ignore Both The Law And The Public’s Paramount Need For Clean Water”

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman led a coalition of attorneys general in opposing President Trump’s executive order today, which the President described as paving the way to the elimination of the Clean Water Rule (also known as the Waters of the United States Rule).

The coalition, which includes the attorneys general of New York, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont, issued the following statement:

“We strongly oppose President Trump’s action today that undermines Clean Water Act protections and the public health and environment of our states.

The President’s order runs counter to the Clean Water Act’s, and the EPA’s, very purpose: achieving clean water. The Clean Water Rule is a measured, reasonable, and lawful application of sound and uncontroverted science to protect our nation’s upstream source waters. We rely on these waters to ensure clean drinking water, recreation, and viable commercial fishing and navigation. Abandoning the Clean Water Rule will allow uncontrolled pollution of these critical water resources. It could also harm the competitiveness of our state economies by forcing us to spend more to clean up the pollution of deregulated waters coming from upstream states that refuse to control such pollution.

Clean water is essential to life — and the people of our states and the nation deserve the basic protections established by the Clean Water Rule, to ensure that the benefits of clean water are shared equally, regardless of state lines.

We won’t hesitate to protect our people and our environment—including by aggressively opposing in court President Trump’s actions that ignore both the law and the public’s paramount need for clean water.”

In April 2014, EPA and the Army Corps proposed the Clean Water Rule to define the “waters of the United States,” and made the rule available for an extended public comment period. After receiving over one million comments, most of which supported the rule, the Agencies published the final rule (Rule) on June 29, 2015.  A coalition of states successfully intervened to defend the Rule in litigation challenging it in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

The Rule clarifies the scope of waters that are protected under the Clean Water Act (Act).  It protects waters with a “significant nexus” to downstream waters, such as tributary streams, wetlands, and open waters in floodplains and riparian areas, consistent with Supreme Court precedent. In drawing those lines, EPA and the Corps relied on a robust EPA science report that considered more than 1,200 peer-reviewed publications. The agencies also relied on an independent review of the science report by EPA’s Science Advisory Board.

The Rule enhances environmental protection benefits enjoyed by states and the public by clearly defining the Act’s reach to include waters that significantly contribute to the quality of the nation’s waters. By clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act, the Rule also benefits both regulators and the regulated community by reducing time-consuming, inefficient, and potentially inconsistent case-by-case jurisdictional determinations that have hampered effective implementation of the Act for years and led to significant, time-consuming litigation across the country.


Whitehouse Statement on Waters of the United States Executive Order

‘A rule that provides certainty to businesses and protects our waters from pollution and contaminants is not a bad thing’

‘Corporate lobbyists and industry front men leading the charge against it . . . have no care for downstream states like Rhode Island’

Washington, DC – Today, President Donald Trump signed an executive order calling on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to begin the process of rolling back the Waters of the United States Rule—an important tool for enforcement of the Clean Water Act.  Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement on the order:

“President Trump and his lawyers will soon discover that this commonsense rule closely tracks the United States Supreme Court decisions about what the law requires.  A rule that provides certainty to businesses and protects our waters from pollution and contaminants is not a bad thing.  The corporate lobbyists and industry front men leading the charge against it – many of whom helped shape the Administration’s anti-environment agenda – have no care for downstream states like Rhode Island, which need this rule to keep our water supplies safe and beautiful natural assets like Narragansett Bay clean and productive.”


Carper Statement on President Trump’s Attempt to Undo Clean Water Protections

“The only thing today’s EO makes clear is that clean water is not a priority for the Trump Administration”

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement after President Trump signed an Executive Order that attempts to roll back protections for water sources across the country included in the Clean Water Rule, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized in 2015.

“We rely on the EPA to do the hard work of protecting our rivers and streams so that millions of Americans can be confident that the water their families drink or play in is clean.

“In his first speech as the head of the agency, Scott Pruitt made no mention of clean water. Instead, he asserted that the job of the EPA is to ensure that regulated entities ‘…know what’s expected of them, so that they can plan and allocate resources to comply.’ But the only thing today’s Executive Order makes clear is that clean water is not a priority for the Trump Administration.

“This Executive Order not only puts our nation’s streams and wetlands at risk of contamination, it also creates the uncertainty that Mr. Pruitt is, supposedly, so concerned about. For years, businesses, farmers, developers, state officials and even members of Congress urged the EPA to provide clarity regarding which streams and wetlands would be protected under the Clean Water Act. In 2015, after holding hundreds of meetings with stakeholders, visiting affected sites across the country and responding to over one million public comments, EPA responded to these calls and finalized the Clean Water Rule to provide clearer guidelines and ensure that safe water quality standards are maintained in our rivers, bays and coastal waters.

“If President Trump doesn’t think this rule is perfect, then he should tell his new EPA Administrator to roll up his sleeves and work to make it better. Instead, he has allowed his EPA to abandon critical clean water protections, to limit protected waters, and to create even more uncertainty with the stroke of his pen.”


Cardin Statement on the Clean Water Rule

“I don’t want the safety of our drinking water to be determined by partisanship and special interests”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), issued the following statement in response to the president’s executive order instructing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to roll back the Clean Water Rule.

“Ensuring that America’s water is safe should not be a partisan issue dictated by special interests. Unfortunately, President Trump and Republicans have made it so. Until recently, we have put public health ahead of politics and worked together to ensure that when anyone across America turns on their faucet, the water that comes out is safe. The president’s latest gift to his special interest backers is dangerous, shortsighted and a partisan step away from good governance, public health and commonsense environmental protection.

“Today’s announcement means we will not know which bodies of water—the sources of drinking water for one hundred million Americans—are protected, which leaves them dangerously susceptible to being polluted. The Trump Administration’s move to weaken the Clean Water Act puts public health at risk.”


President Trump Muddies the Water with Executive Order on Clean Water Rule

Washington (February 28, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement after President Donald Trump signed a new executive order today instructing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rescind the Clean Water Rule.

“In Massachusetts we may sing about ‘that dirty water’, but thanks to Donald Trump’s new executive order, millions of Americans may have to drink it. Rolling back the Clean Water Rule will only expose local communities and economies to the dangerous water pollution that threatens the environment and public health. Tourism, recreation, agriculture and other economic engines of growth in Massachusetts need clean water to flourish.

“This announcement is just the latest in Donald Trump’s giveaways to polluters and corporate interests at the expense American families and the environment. When he’s not threatening EPA’s budget, Donald Trump is instructing the agency to undermine its own mission. I will continue to fight Trump administration efforts to jeopardize our clean lands, air and water.”


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