Administration Releases Final Rule Gutting Clean Water Protections

WASHINGTON — A new final EPA rule, published in the federal register today, would leave streams — and even some rivers — federally unprotected for the first time since the Clean Water Act became law in 1972. The rule dramatically reduces the scope of waters protected from pollution, destruction, and degradation, including removing protections for approximately half of the nation’s wetlands.

“As we wrestle with one of the country’s greatest public health crises, the need for strong protections to ensure safe and clean water for people, communities, and wildlife could not be clearer. This ill-advised rule goes in the opposite direction, threatening public drinking water supplies, wildlife habitat, and opportunity for safe recreation,” said Jim Murphy, director of legal advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation. “Since the Administration refuses to protect our waters, we intend to fight this illegal rule with all tools available. We cannot afford to further put our public health at risk or lose protections for half of our remaining wetlands. It’s outrageous, but unsurprising, that this rule would come out just in time for Earth Day.”

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