Trump’s Clean Water Rule rewrite cuts key protections

December 11, 2018

December 11, 2018
Contact: Amy Kober, 503-708-1145

The Trump administration announced its rewrite of the Clean Water Rule today, and as expected the new rule would eliminate federal protection for wetlands with no apparent surface connection to nearby water bodies, and expressly excludes from protection “ephemeral” rivers and streams that flow in times of heavy rain and snow. These are important parts of healthy river ecosystems that are vital to protecting water quality and providing flood protection and critical wildlife habitat nationwide.

The current Clean Water Rule, promulgated by the Obama administration,
ensured protection of wetlands and ephemeral streams based on the overwhelming scientific consensus that they are vitally important to healthy rivers that supply drinking water to two-thirds of Americans. The Trump administration is reversing the Rule on no apparent scientific basis.

While the Trump administration claims that the new rule does not significantly reduce protections, in fact millions of acres of wetlands nationwide will be affected.

Bob Irvin, President and CEO of American Rivers, made the following statement:

“We need to be doing more as a nation, not less, to safeguard clean water. Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s proposal today fails to deliver – indeed it actively undermines – the protections our rivers and communities need.”

“Too many people in our country, urban and rural, are living with unsafe drinking water. More and more people are worried whether the water flowing from their taps is safe to drink. Low-income communities, indigenous peoples and communities of color are hit hardest by pollution and river degradation.”

“Protection for rivers, streams and wetlands that are the sources of our drinking water supplies must be a top priority to ensure clean water for all. It is time to strengthen, not roll back, safeguards for our rivers and wetlands”