WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) finalized a rule repealing the Obama-era Clean Water Rule, which EPA finalized in 2015 after four years of scientific review and unprecedented public engagement.

“After several confusing and conflicting Supreme Court decisions, businesses, farmers, developers, state officials and even members of Congress urged the EPA to provide clarity on which streams and wetlands should be regulated by the Clean Water Act. The result was the Clean Water Rule, and it took into account 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific publications, 400 stakeholder meetings and more than one million public comments.

“Repealing the Clean Water Rule is a rebuke of sound science and overwhelming public opinion, and it will put millions of Americans’ drinking water at risk. What’s more, between the worsening trade wars and willful ignorance of climate change, and despite promises otherwise, our farmers will be the collateral damage. This repeal will only create additional legal and environmental uncertainty for our nation’s agricultural sector, which relies on clean and healthy water.

“The Trump Administration is engaged in a full-on, two-part attack on clean water.  This repeal, coupled with a Clean Water Rule replacement regulation the Administration is seeking to finalize later this year, will jeopardize up to 60 percent of the country’s waterways and wetlands.  These waterbodies feed into the drinking water of nearly 1 in 3 Americans.  It is too clear that this repeal is the first step on a slippery slope that will jeopardize public health and the local economies dependent on access to healthy water and viable wetlands.”