Congress Wants to Let Trump Ignore the Law to Gut Clean Water Protections

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Washington - On Thursday July 27, the Trump Administration’s proposal to cancel the Clean Water Rule will be formally published in the Federal Register, kicking off a short 30 day public comment period on the proposed repeal of protections for streams, wetlands, and drinking water. The public comment period for adopting the Clean Water Rule in 2014 lasted 180 days and garnered more than 800,000 supportive comments. At the same time, Congress is attempting to make it easier for Scott Pruitt's EPA to repeal these protections. A provision in the House Energy and Water appropriations bill exempts the repeal of the Clean Water Rule from judicial review and allows EPA to skip the public notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act. 

Clean Water Action Campaigns Director Lynn Thorp released the following statement.

"Republicans in Congress and Scott Pruitt know how unpopular – not to mention legally and scientifically indefensible, it is to gut protections for clean water. They are trying to change the rules to cut the public out of the process, allowing the Trump administration to weaken protections for drinking water, rivers, streams and wetlands behind closed doors. Instead of robustly engaging all Americans, Scott Pruitt is rushing through his repeal of the Clean Water Rule and focusing his outreach on the special interests who have tried to kill these safeguards for years."

"House Republicans are using the budget process to do an end run around the law to give Scott Pruitt an unprecedented and dangerous assist. A dirty water provision in the Energy and Water appropriations bill would exempt the Clean Water Rule repeal from the Administrative Procedures Act, the law that ensures that all Americans, not just lobbyists and special interests, have a say. Public engagement and judicial review are cornerstones of how we make law and policy. This is a flagrant and outrageous betrayal of American values of openness and debate. Congress must follow the lead of Representatives Don Beyer (VA) and Elizabeth Esty (CT) and reject this blatant attack on our rule of law and our water."


Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration and Congress.

Michael Kelly