Washington – Today, President Trump issued an executive order calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back Clean Water Act protections for millions of wetland acres and stream miles, putting fish, wildlife, and communities at risk. Unusually, the order directs the EPA to consider Justice Antonin Scalia's opinion in the 2006 Rapanos case when rewriting a rule defining which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act. Scalia’s opinion in this case failed to capture a majority of the Supreme Court and was not followed by the Bush or Obama administrations nor by any federal appellate court since.
“Every American should have a right to access clean, safe water, regardless of their zip code,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “During the campaign, the President promised to ensure ‘crystal clear water’ for all Americans. Yet today’s order, if implemented, would allow more pollution in the drinking water sources of more than one-third of all Americans and would roll back protections for many of America’s streams and wetlands, including seasonal wetlands that are home to more than half of North American migratory waterfowl. This is an approach that the Supreme Court has previously rejected, specifically because it is not based upon sound science, is inconsistent with letter and spirit of the Clean Water Act as passed by Congress, and does not follow existing case law. It will be struck down by the Court eventually, but in the meantime our waters will have fewer protections. America can do better and we urge the administration to fulfill its promise of ‘crystal clear water’.”
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