Biden Administration Plans to Propose Repealing “Dirty Water Rule”

Trump-era Rule Gutted Protections for Streams and Wetlands

WASHINGTON - Citing serious concerns about its deleterious impact on natural water sources, the Biden Administration announced today it plans to propose repealing a Trump-era rule that eviscerated critical safeguards for streams, lakes, and rivers, including drinking water sources for tens of millions of people nationwide. 

The following is a statement by Jon Devine, Director of Federal Water Policy for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and Heather Govern, Director of CLF’s Clean Air and Water Program:

“Every day the ‘Dirty Water Rule’ stays in effect, America’s waterways remain at risk. The Biden Administration’s planned proposal to repeal the rule is a step in the right direction, but lacks the urgency required to restore full legal protections for the lakes and rivers that supply drinking water to millions of people.” 

“With our nation’s waters under siege from polluters, the Biden Administration must overturn Trump’s irresponsible rollback as soon as possible,” said Heather Govern, Director of Conservation Law Foundation’s Clean Air and Water Program. “It is imperative that government agencies then move quickly to redefine 'Waters of the Unites States' to ensure clean water for current and future generations."


In April 2020, NRDC and a broad coalition of environmental groups sued to stop the Trump administration’s unlawful decision to gut federal protections for many of the nation’s streams and wetlands. The suit challenged a regulation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers called the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Often referred to as the “Dirty Water Rule,” the Trump Administration drafted policy excludes millions of miles of rain-dependent streams and millions of acres of flood-preventing, pollution-trapping wetlands from critical Clean Water Act safeguards. 

NRDC sued along with Clean Wisconsin, Connecticut River Conservancy, Conservation Law Foundation, Massachusetts Audubon, Merrimack River Watershed Council, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, and Prairie Rivers Network.  

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NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.