Tell the Biden administration to immediately rescind Trump’s Dirty Water Rule while they are working on a revision

Water is life and protecting it has never been more important.  

For four years the Trump administration ruthlessly attacked some of America’s most fundamental clean water protections, placing the interests of polluters and profits over the well-being of people and the environment. Your voice is now needed to ensure protections to these life-giving waters are restored.

The pinnacle of these attacks, Trump’s 2020 Dirty Water Rule, left over 60 percent of our beloved rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, and other waters vulnerable to severe environmental degradation. In the desert Southwest, it’s even more grim with over 90 percent of rivers, arroyos, and streams losing federal protection.

Tens of millions of Americans depend on these waters for their drinking water, for recreation, to nourish crops and cherished landscapes, in addition to the countless plant and wildlife communities that depend on them for their survival. We cannot wait to restore clean water protections.

Guardians and our allies continue to push hard to ensure the health of living rivers throughout the American West. But we need your help. Use your voice today to take a stand for clean water and tell federal agencies that leaving our nation’s waters vulnerable to polluters and special interests is unacceptable—they must immediately repeal the 2020 Dirty Water Rule while they are working on a revision.

The EPA and the Department of the Army are currently accepting written comments from members of the public through September 3, 2021. You can submit your comments via Regulations.Gov here.

To assist you, we’ve put together this comprehensive list of talking points that you may want to include in your comments to the EPA and the Department of the Army:

  • The Clean Water Act was enacted to provide drinkable, fishable, and swimmable water to every person in the United States;
  • The Clean Water Act protects “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) if a water body is not defined under WOTUS, it has no protection;
  • The 2020 Dirty Water Rule redefined WOTUS, removing protections from many of our nation’s water bodies, and is the biggest reduction in environmental protections since the Clean Water Act’s passage nearly 50 years ago;
  • The 2020 Dirty Water Rule was one of the most egregious examples of the Trump administration’s attacks on our most fundamental environmental protections;
  • It is not enough to commit to revising this rule, it must be immediately rescinded while a revision is being worked on;
  • In their own words, the EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers recognize the “significant environmental damage” this rule has caused and that “communities deserve to have our nation’s waters protected;”
  • The Dirty Water Rule has had catastrophic effects on waters across the US, opening up over 60 percent of our nation’s rivers, lakes, wetlands, and other water to pollution and other degradation;
  • This includes over 90 percent of rivers and streams in the desert Southwest, including most of the streams that flow into the Rio Grande;
  • We are deepening our understanding of the ways that wetlands can help to mitigate climate change but also how deeply sensitive they are to these changes, with growing impacts from climate change in the American West, it is irresponsible not to protect these landscapes;
  • Intermittent and ephemeral streams are important parts of arid and semi-arid climatic regimes but are also under increasing threats due to climate change—these streams are largely unprotected under the current rule;
  • The rule revision process is one which may take years, our nation’s waters cannot wait that long;
  • Low-income and communities of color already bear the brunt of too many of our environmental crises, leaving this rule intact will leave this communities vulnerable to impacts from pollution and flooding;
  • It is an environmental justice imperative that this rule be immediately rescinded;
  • Returning to the days where 2/3 of our nation’s waterways were dangerously polluted is a non-starter.

Again, please make sure to submit your comments to the EPA and the Department of the Army by September 3, 2021. Short on time? Sign our petition.

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About the Author

Tricia Snyder | Formerly of WildEarth Guardians' Rivers Program, WildEarth Guardians

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