Statement: Dirty Water Rule puts Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s drinking water at risk

Media Contacts
Kate Breimann

Environment Maryland will challenge the Dirty Water Rule in court

Environment Maryland


For Immediate Release: 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


For more information: 

Kate Breimann, Advocate, [email protected], 276-229-9108


New Dirty Water Rule puts Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s drinking water at risk

Trump Administration action defies common sense and sound science 


[Baltimore, MD] – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers have now revoked federal protection for thousands of waterways across Maryland as published in the Federal Register.  With our ecosystems and drinking water at stake, Environment Maryland will challenge the Dirty Water Rule in court.

Streams and wetlands are crucial to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Wetlands filter out pollutants, provide wildlife habitat, and protect communities by absorbing floodwaters. If streams are polluted, that pollution can flow into larger rivers and our drinking water. Yet the Dirty Water Rule wipes out protections for countless streams and wetlands — a move that was recently rebuked by EPA’s own science advisors.  

Kate Breimann, Environment Maryland advocate issued the following statement:

“Fifty years ago, the first Earth Day demonstrated American’s overwhelming bi-partisan support for clean water.  Now one day before Earth Day 50, the EPA has just marched forward with the worst rollback in the history of the Clean Water Act.

“As surely as water flows downstream, the Dirty Water Rule endangers the waterways including the Chesapeake Bay where Marylanders swim, fish, boat, and draw our drinking water.  Moreover, the rule violates the Clean Water Act itself, as we noted in our comments to the EPA.  The Dirty Water Rule defies common sense, sound science and the law.  We will not allow it to stand.   

“Public support for maintaining Clean Water Act protections is widespread. More than one million Americans — including business owners, local officials, scientists, and hunters and anglers — have provided comments to EPA, urging the agency to protect streams and wetlands under the Act.”

“But lobbyists for corporate agribusiness, developers, and the oil and gas industry have long demanded that federal protections be removed for streams and wetlands. Pollution from agribusinesses contributes to toxic algal outbreaks, fish kills, dead zones, drinking water contamination and fecal bacteria that can make swimmers sick. Some developers are eager to build on wetlands and the oil and gas industry has countless pipelines running through them.

“This is just plain wrong. Clean water is vital for our health, our way of life, and for nature itself. We will not rest until protections for America’s waterways are restored.”


Environment Maryland is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. We work to protect clean air, clean water, and open space. We have thousands of members across the state and are based in Baltimore.