EPA Slashes State and Tribal Clean Water Rights

WASHINGTON  – The Environmental Protection Agency issued a regulation today that undermines states’ and tribes’ authority to protect clean water within their borders, a change that would help fossil-fuel companies and developers to the detriment of the rest of us.

The rule limits state and tribal leaders’ ability under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to ensure that oil and gas pipelines, hydropower dams, wetland fills, or and other federally authorized projects don’t harm critical water resources.

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

“Enforcing state and federal laws is essential to protecting critical lakes, streams, and wetlands from harmful pollutants and other threats. But the Trump administration’s rule guts states' and tribes' authority to safeguard their waters, allowing it to ram through pipelines and other projects that can decimate vital water resources.

“This is a dangerous mistake. It makes a mockery of this EPA’s claimed respect for ‘cooperative federalism.’

“This action undermines how our foundational environmental laws work. The federal government should be setting baseline standards, while states apply and enhance them to the benefit of their unique natural resources and residents.”

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


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