WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement after President Trump signed an Executive Order that attempts to roll back protections for water sources across the country included in the Clean Water Rule, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized in 2015.
“We rely on the EPA to do the hard work of protecting our rivers and streams so that millions of Americans can be confident that the water their families drink or play in is clean.
“In his first speech as the head of the agency, Scott Pruitt made no mention of clean water. Instead, he asserted that the job of the EPA is to ensure that regulated entities ‘…know what’s expected of them, so that they can plan and allocate resources to comply.’ But the only thing today’s Executive Order makes clear is that clean water is not a priority for the Trump Administration.
“This Executive Order not only puts our nation’s streams and wetlands at risk of contamination, it also creates the uncertainty that Mr. Pruitt is, supposedly, so concerned about. For years, businesses, farmers, developers, state officials and even members of Congress urged the EPA to provide clarity regarding which streams and wetlands would be protected under the Clean Water Act. In 2015, after holding hundreds of meetings with stakeholders, visiting affected sites across the country and responding to over one million public comments, EPA responded to these calls and finalized the Clean Water Rule to provide clearer guidelines and ensure that safe water quality standards are maintained in our rivers, bays and coastal waters.
“If President Trump doesn’t think this rule is perfect, then he should tell his new EPA Administrator to roll up his sleeves and work to make it better. Instead, he has allowed his EPA to abandon critical clean water protections, to limit protected waters, and to create even more uncertainty with the stroke of his pen.”