Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: Trump Administration’s Clean Water Rollbacks Threaten America’s Drinking Water

June 27, 2017
Contact: David Jakubiak

Trump Administration’s Clean Water Rollbacks Threaten America’s Drinking Water
Pausing Clean Water Standards Wrong For the Great Lakes Region and America

CHICAGO – The Trump Administration EPA’s repeal of Clean Water Rule announced today will threaten progress made to protect the Midwest’s vital lakes, rivers and streams, including the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins.

A previously announced delay of coal plant pollution rules further threaten American drinking water, as well as water used for boating, swimming, fishing and growing food.

“The Trump Administration’s attacks on safe clean drinking water standards will allow more pollution of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watersheds harming public health and fish and wildlife habitat,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

The Trump Administration’s action today rolls back clean water standards that define which waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act. The standard recognized that our water resources are so interconnected that in order to protect our celebrated waterways – the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes – it’s necessary to protect the backyard brooks, community creeks and steady streams that feed them.

“This foolish rollback of clean water standards rejects years of work building stakeholder input and scientific data support, and it imperils the progress for safe clean drinking water in the Midwest,” Learner said. “We can’t afford to go backwards when it comes to reducing pollution of community rivers, lakes and streams.”

Last month, the Administration said it would indefinitely delay regulation of toxic pollutants that coal plants can dump into waterways, such as arsenic, chromium, lead, and mercury. In the five years before the standard, for example, the Havana Power Station in Illinois dumped more than 1,000 pounds of lead into the Illinois River. In the same period, Ohio’s Cardinal Power Station dumped 11,500 pounds of arsenic into the Ohio River and Indiana’s Petersburg Generating Station dumped 5,800 pounds of arsenic and 1,100 pounds of lead into the White River.

“Let’s make it safe to eat the fish we catch in Midwest rivers, lakes and streams.  Allowing coal plants to keep discharging toxic pollutants collected into local waterways is dangerous and short-sighted,” Learner said. “The Ohio River and White River provide drinking water for millions of people. State health departments along these waterways have advisories warning people about eating fish caught in these rivers. Rather than rolling water protections backwards, we should move forward to protect our vital resources.”

Take action to defend the Clean Water Rule and the Toxic Water Rule!