EPA Reverses Trump-Era Clean Water Rollbacks, Proposes to Restore Protections for Wetlands and Streams

WASHINGTON – Pledging to chart a course away from the Trump-era “Dirty Water Rule” that gutted the federal Clean Water Act, today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers initiated a process to restore legal protections for the nation’s waters, including wetlands and millions of smaller streams that affect the health of larger water bodies.  

The following is a reaction from Jon Devine, director of federal water policy for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):  

“This is an important first step. The Biden administration needs to take a ‘full steam ahead’ approach to permanently restore federal protections for the nation’s lakes and rivers that supply drinking water to millions of people and the wetlands that protect our communities from flooding. EPA must write a rule based in science that honors the objectives of the Clean Water Act.” 

In June 2021, the Biden administration announced it would propose to repeal the Dirty Water Rule, and launch a separate rulemaking to establish permanent clean water protections for critical waters. Subsequently, two federal courts  tossed out Trump’s illegal rule. Today’s announcement from the EPA completely repudiates the Dirty Water Rule and sets out the legal standards that the government intends to follow while it undertakes a new rulemaking process to durably identify the water bodies the law protects.  

Additional Resources: 

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 www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC

Related Issues
Fresh Water

Related Press Releases