Lack of Federal Stream and Wetland Protections Leaves Communities Vulnerable to Flooding, Hurricane Damage

August 29, 2023

New Biden Administration rule is inadequate, constrained by recent Supreme Court ruling 

Statement by American Rivers

Contact: Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145  

Today the Biden Administration released an updated rule on protecting wetlands and small streams. This rule comes in response to the damaging Supreme Court ruling that was issued in May that dramatically narrowed the scope of the Clean Water Act, undoing protections that have safeguarded the nation’s waters for over 50 years. 

While the Administration’s rule attempts to protect clean water and wetlands, it is severely limited in its ability to do so as a result of the Supreme Court ruling which slashed federal protections for thousands of miles of small streams and wetlands.   

This means communities across the U.S. are now more vulnerable to pollution and flooding. Streams and wetlands are not only important sources of drinking water, they are buffers against extreme storms and floodwaters.  

Tom Kiernan, President and CEO of American Rivers, made the following statement:  

“With Hurricane Idalia barreling down on the Southeast, and severe storms increasing with climate change, communities need every tool they can get to help protect themselves from flooding. The first line of defense should be a healthy river with wetlands and floodplains that store and absorb floodwaters. By cutting protections for streams and wetlands, we leave communities more vulnerable to disaster.” 

“We are grateful for the Administration’s attempt to protect clean water and wetlands with their new rule. They are doing what they can, but they are limited in the face of the flawed Supreme Court ruling. This simply demonstrates that Congress must act now  to reinstate science-based safeguards for streams and wetlands to protect the health and safety of our communities.”