Washington Watch: Defending Clean Water
NCLCV has signed on to a letter asking U.S. House members to block the latest congressional effort to gut clean water protections.
Last week, a House committee added an amendment to its FY2019 Energy and Water Appropriations bill which would eliminate the Clean Water Rule (CWR). The CWR is a key rule under the Clean Water Act, adopted by federal agencies in 2015, which defines the “waters of the United States” subject to protection from destruction by polluting discharges or development. The 2015 rule revisions acted to restore a more broadly protective definition of those waters and wetlands, which had been called into question by an earlier decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The CWR was a major environmental achievement of President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and one of the first environmental regulatory targets of the Trump-Pruitt EPA. However, massive public support for the rule has slowed down this deregulatory attempt. As a result, anti-environmental forces in Congress have started this latest end-run attempt around sound science and the public input process.
The joint letter signed by NCLCV and other advocacy groups calls out this anti-regulatory effort for what it is: “It’s really this simple: a vote for this rider is a vote against clean water, a vote to expose even more communities to unsafe drinking water, a vote to limit the scope of the Clean Water Act, and a vote to allow polluters to destroy our precious waterways. Enough is enough: it’s time for Congress to stand up to protect clean water.”
We’ll stay tuned to this key battle for clean water in Washington as the congressional budget processes continue.