The Biden Administration has formally abandoned a Trump-era environmental protection rollback, and signaled new clean water standards are on the horizon.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers announced the formal rulemaking process to replace one of the Trump Administration’s attacks on clean water and wetlands. The so-called Dirty Water Rule gutted Clean Water Act protections for many of the critical small streams and most of the wetlands in the United States. The agencies’ new joint action follows up on a June announcement of their intent, and comes after two federal courts invalidated the Trump Administration changes.
“This is an important first step,” said Jon Devine, director of federal water policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The Biden administration needs to take a ‘full steam ahead’ approach to permanently restore federal protections for the nation’s lakes and rivers that supply drinking water to millions of people and the wetlands that protect our communities from flooding. EPA must write a rule based in science that honors the objectives of the Clean Water Act.”
Other environmental advocates also praised the announcement. “Everyone who relies on clean water benefits from getting rid of the previous administration’s unlawful rule that put the interests of industrial polluters before the health and safety of families, communities, and our waterways,” said Senior Attorney Kelly Moser, leader of the Southern Environmental Law Center Clean Water Defense Initiative.