January 03, 2023
Statement by Scott Strand
Senior Attorney, Environmental Law & Policy Center
“The Environmental Law & Policy Center welcomes the Biden administration’s new rule as a step in the right direction to protect our nation’s clean water and define the scope of the Clean Water Act. The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers refused to knuckle under to those who would ignore the science, and who deny what we now know about the physical, chemical, and biological interconnections between lakes and rivers, tributaries, and adjacent wetlands. At the same time, the agencies patiently debunked a number of the baseless arguments that have too often characterized this debate—that EPA is bent on expanding its authority over routine agricultural practices. This new rule largely codifies what the law has been since the late 1970’s, with a few science-driven updates, and, while we might have hoped for more, this should clearly survive judicial scrutiny.
“Here in the Midwest, we depend on wetlands to keep our Great Lakes clean, to ensure adequate high-quality drinking water, to help protect us from flooding, to preserve wildlife habitat, and to absorb carbon. Strong federal protections are crucial to stopping further unnecessary losses to these critical resources.”