Saturday, May 27th marks the second anniversary for the Clean Water Rule advanced by the Obama Administration which took a vital step towards safeguarding our nation’s clean water supply. Unfortunately, right now the Trump Administration is working to repeal the Clean Water Rule, while also proposing massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and other clean water safeguards in the federal budget. This is an unprecedented attack on our country’s rivers and your clean drinking water.
The Clean Water Rule provides protection for the small streams and wetlands that contribute to the drinking water sources of one in three Americans. People need clean water to drink and businesses, like the beverage and outdoor recreation industries, rely on clean water to be profitable.
Small streams and wetlands also protect communities from flooding. Climate change is exacerbating our nation’s susceptibility to disastrous flooding events and these small streams, wetlands, and floodplains help to store floodwaters before they reach communities and cause destruction. They also recharge groundwater supplies, provide space for recreation, absorb pollutants, and provide critical habitat to many species and more.
The Clean Water Rule is based on more than 1200 publications of peer-reviewed science and was reviewed by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board. It protects small streams and wetlands because science tells us that small streams and wetlands are connected to and have a strong influence on the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of downstream waterways such as rivers.
For all of these reasons, we need to be doing more, not less, to safeguard our rivers and water supplies. But President Trump is going in the opposite direction, proposing massive budget cuts to clean water and river restoration efforts. His budget proposal includes deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, proposing to cut the agency by almost one third by slashing funding for vital environmental initiatives including EPA’s enforcement and compliance program for bedrock environmental laws. The budget virtually eliminates funding for regional restoration efforts, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay Program, each of which provide resources to states and communities trying to restore and protect the rivers that flow into these iconic waterways.
The Trump Administration’s budget proposal and its work to repeal the Clean Water Rule in order to better serve corporate interests, put the health and well-being of Americans at risk.
In the words of American Rivers President Bob Irvin, “We need to take care of the rivers that take care of us.”
Americans must call their members of Congress and speak up against the administration’s attacks on our clean water. American Rivers will continue to fight to safeguard the rivers and streams that connect us all, and to protect clean drinking water for American families and future generations.