Attorney General James Slams Trump EPA’s Replacement for Clean Water Rule

Just One Day Shy of Earth Day 2020, Trump’s “Dirty Water Rule” Ignores
Science and the Law, and Strips Our Nation’s Waters of Basic Protections

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James issued a statement today responding to the Trump Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule replacing the 2015 Clean Water Rule, a science-based Obama-era federal regulation that ensured the nation’s lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands received proper protection under the Clean Water Act:

“It is incumbent on all of us to do everything in our power to protect public health, and that includes making sure that people have access to clean water,” said Attorney General James. “In the new ‘Dirty Water’ rule, the basic protections keeping our water safe are stripped from waterbodies across the country, putting safe drinking water, wildlife habitats, and public safety at serious risk. I will use every legal tool available to continue the progress we’ve made in the fight for clean water.”

Attorney General James argues that the new “Dirty Water Rule” fails to comply with Supreme Court precedent and fails to protect many waters that significantly affect downstream water quality. The rule also ignores the best and most current science on the connectivity of smaller or infrequently-flowing bodies of water to downstream “navigable” waters. Because of this connectivity of waters, pollution of wetlands and upland streams often harms downstream waters such as rivers, lakes, estuaries, and oceans. The new rule eliminates protection for countless streams and wetlands across the country, threatening widespread harm to water quality, which is completely contrary to the Clean Water Act’s objective “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.”