EPA Rescinds Faulty Water Pollution Memo

"A victory for clean water across the country."

WASHINGTON — EPA has rescinded a guidance document issued in the final days of the Trump Administration that blatantly misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.
“This hastily-issued guidance document allowed polluters more leeway than either the Maui decision or the Clean Water Act intended," said Jim Murphy, director of legal advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation. “The document made it easier for polluters like factories, hog farms and sewage plants to dispose of polluted waste into the ground, even if this pollution would make its way into rivers and streams. Rescinding this document is a victory for clean water across the country – and it is a victory for the rule of law.” 

The Maui decision held that certain discharges of pollution, like municipal sewage waste, that travel through the ground before reaching important waters require permits to protect water quality. This decision ensures that polluters cannot escape regulation by dumping their wastewater just shy of rivers, lakes, bays, streams, and other important waters. The Trump guidance misinterpreted this decision to allow many polluters to escape proper regulation pursuant to the Maui decision.

“We applaud the EPA’s Office of Water rescinding the misguided interpretation of the Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund Supreme Court decision,” said Moana Bjur, executive director of the Conservation Council for Hawai’i. “The Clean Water Act is a cornerstone of our country's protection of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and is critical for efforts to combat the impacts of climate change. We appreciate Hawaii's commitment to water quality, and are grateful for the Clean Water Act's groundwater discharge permitting requirements and oversight that ensure clean waters throughout our state and across the country.”


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