April 20, 2020
Tomorrow, the Trump administration is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register its final replacement of the 2015 Clean Water Rule that eliminates federal protection for wetlands and streams needed to preserve safe drinking water and to reduce the risk of catastrophic flooding.
STATEMENT BY HOWARD A. LEARNER
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW & POLICY CENTER
“The Trump EPA’s misguided final rule removes protections for smaller community rivers, wetlands and streams that are vital to Midwest communities, especially as disastrous flooding becomes a more frequent springtime occurrence. Wetlands in particular are important buffers to the Midwest’s waterways — including the Mississippi River — because they absorb rainfall and snowmelt that could otherwise breach levees and flood adjacent communities. The National Weather Service’s forecast predicts a 50% probability of spring flooding along the upper Mississippi River in the coming months.
“Water resources are so interconnected. To protect the Midwest’s great waterways — including the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes — we must safeguard the backyard brooks, community creeks and tributary streams that feed them. We need strong federal protection for all of the wetlands that store and filter water before it reaches our lakes, rivers, and streams.
“This misguided rule also puts safe drinking water, public health, and fish and wildlife habitats at risk. The Trump Administration is taking us backwards when it comes to achieving the Clean Water Act’s goals.
“Publication of the final Clean Water Rule in the Federal Register clears the way for the Environmental Law & Policy Center and other groups to challenge the rule in federal court.”