PennFuture Statement: Trump Rescinds Clean Water Rule

(Harrisburg, PA) June 27, 2017 – President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to rescind the Clean Water Rule, putting waters across the country in danger of being further contaminated, and putting the drinking water of millions at even greater risk.

PennFuture President and CEO Larry J. Schweiger released the following statement in response to the Clean Water Rule being rescinded:

“Wetlands are the carbon filters of our rivers, lakes and streams. They recharge groundwater, reduce floods and capture pollution and silt runoff. Wetlands protection has been under assault by developers and oil companies who used the courts to chip away at the law. They also enlisted farmers to oppose wetlands protection with fear-baiting. In recent years, the science of wetlands has greatly improved and the Obama administration, guided by scientists and legal experts, crafted a very conservative definition of the wetlands that would be protected under the law, excluding so-called ‘isolated wetlands.’"

“While the Clean Water Rule did not go far enough to protect all critical wetlands, it was a step in the right direction. President Trump, through EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, withdrew the Clean Water Rule, leaving a cloud of confusion over Federal jurisdiction. So, here we are 45 years after enactment of the Clean Water Act, without clarifying guidance on wetlands protection. It is a very sad day for those fighting on behalf of clean water for the people of the United States.”

The removal of the Clean Water Rule protection puts Pennsylvania’s clean water in jeopardy and turns a blind eye to polluters, increasing stormwater runoff, sediment erosion, agriculture runoff, and acid mine drainage. One third of Americans get their drinking water from seasonal streams, creeks, and rivers protected by this rule, and we cannot afford to put this resource in danger. The Clean Water Rule asserts federal power over small waterways such as wetlands, headwaters and ponds, requiring Clean Water Act permits for any actions that could harm or pollute them. The Obama administration reported that 117 million Americans’ drinking water relies on those waterways. 

PennFuture is leading the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania and beyond. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. For more information, visit www.pennfuture.org.

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Stephanie Rex

Director of Communications, PennFuture