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Post date: May 27 2015

Statement From A.G. Schneiderman Supporting The Federal Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Water Rule”

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today released the following statement on today’s announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) of the final “Clean Water Rule,” regulations that will ensure that the nation’s lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands receive proper protection under the federal Clean Water Act. 

“Clean water is fundamental to the health, environment, and economy of New York,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Pollution originating in states upstream of New York poses a serious threat to our waters. It can damage important hunting, fishing, and recreational areas, and foul drinking water supplies.I applaud the EPA and the Corps for recognizing that, because of their interconnectedness, our nation’s waters demand comprehensive protection under the Clean Air Act– one of our nation’s most important environmental laws. This rule protects the gains we have made in cleaning up New York’s waters by ensuring that all states share responsibility for clean water.”

Thirteen states are “upstream” of New York, meaning that pollution in their waters can drain “downstream” and contaminate New York waters.  These upstream statesinclude states as far west as Minnesota and Illinois. 

The agencies’ actions today, finalize proposed rules on which Attorney General Schneiderman, leading the coalition, submitted supportive comments in September 2014.  In those comments, submitted to the heads of EPA and ACOE, the coalition cited three primary reasons for supporting the Clean Water Rule:

  • The rule sets a strong floor for protecting our nation’s interconnected waters that ensures basic consistency and effectiveness in water pollution control among states, protecting downstream states from the effects of unregulated discharges from upstream states.
  • The rule is grounded in solid, peer-reviewed science, particularly with respect to the “connectivity” of waters. 
  • The rule addresses the current confusion and disagreements in the courts regarding the application of the Clean Water Act. States need this legal clarity to efficiently and confidently administer their water protection programs.     

Joining Attorney General Schneiderman in submitting the comments were the Attorneys General from Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Rhode Island, Washington State, and the District of Columbia.