WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its replacement for the Clean Water Rule, which the agency repealed in 2019.
“By removing federal clean water protection from millions of miles of streams and more than half of the nation’s wetlands, this rule will result in more pollution, dirtier water, less certainty and higher costs for everyone. Everyone, that is, except for the upstream polluters the Trump Administration wants to protect. The real winners here are irresponsible developers and polluting industries. EPA is giving the green light to dump waste in our waterways and destroy the wetlands that keep our waters clean, soak up flood waters, and provide a nursery and home to countless fish and other wildlife.
“This rule breaks the law, defies Congressional intent and outright rejects the recommendations made by EPA’s very own Science Advisory Board. It ignores the basic science that tells us our waterways are critically interconnected. It also defies common sense, which tells us that water flows downhill and downstream, carrying pollution with it. The worst impacts will be felt by disadvantaged communities located downstream. At a time when millions of Americans are already struggling to pay their utility bills, this rollback will lead to more pollution and higher utility bills. As utilities have more pollution to clean up, these communities will have higher utility bills to pay.
“This is how the Trump Administration is responding ‘all hands on deck’ to the COVID-19 pandemic—by allowing industries to pollute freely and with impunity, heaping more cleanup costs on vulnerable communities. More pollution, worse public health outcomes and higher bills are far from what Americans need.”
In January, Senator Carper sent a letter to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator Paul Ray urging him to address concerns raised by the EPA Science Advisory Board that month, including the board’s clear finding that administration’s new definition of WOTUS “decreases protection for our nation’s waters and does not support the objective of maintaining ‘the chemical, physical and biological integrity’ of these waters.” The full text of the letter to Mr. Ray can be found here.