A Provision Included in the Proposed Legislation Would Allow Future Administrations to Exclude Waters from Federal Protections
On October 18th, the 51st Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, more than 100 members of the House of Representatives introduced legislation that would undo the devastating impacts of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Sackett v. EPA and restore essential clean water protections for rivers, lakes, wetlands, streams, and other essential waterbodies.
Unfortunately, the bill also includes provisions that would authorize the EPA administrator to exclude these categories of water or features from the Clean Water Act through a rulemaking when certain conditions are met, which could result in an even broader loss of protections than we are currently facing.
In response Marc Yaggi, CEO of Waterkeeper Alliance, released the following statement:
“While we are relieved to see leaders in the House taking critically important action to restore Clean Water Act coverage for all of the nation’s rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands and other waters as originally intended by Congress, we are concerned about the inclusion of exclusionary language in the bill that could be used to eliminate lasting protections for these waters for the benefit of industry and to the detriment of water quality, human and environmental health, and local economies.
We can reestablish protections for all of the waterbodies that were covered by the Clean Water Act for nearly 50 years without providing a loophole that would allow a future administration pursuing an anti-environmental agenda to exclude these same waters from protection. This approach will lead us back to where we have already been in the recent past—with Clean Water Act protections expanding or contracting on a four-year cycle. We urge Congress to drop this exclusionary provision and move forward the parts of this legislation that fully restore clean water protections for all of the nation’s waters as is necessary to achieve the objective of the Clean Water Act.”