Statement: House hearing provides stage to attack the Clean Water Act

Media Contacts
John Rumpler

Senior Director, Clean Water for America Campaign and Senior Attorney, Environment America

Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network

Polluters are focused on undermining one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws

WASHINGTON – At a U.S. House committee hearing on Wednesday, witnesses and members of Congress took turns assailing federal protection for wetlands, streams and other vital waterways. At the Water and Environment Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee hearing, clean water opponents aimed to repeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule that protects at least some of the nation’s wetlands and streams under the Clean Water Act. The EPA’s rule officially retired the Trump administration’s so-called “Dirty Water Rule,” which had provoked widespread public opposition and was criticized by the  EPA’s own science advisors at the time it was enacted.

The hearing took place as the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case that could — once again — drastically curtail the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. Environment America has been working to protect the nation’s waters from pollution and degradation for nearly 20 years — issuing research reports, generating public comments and organizing the support of key constituencies. Environment America has also participated in litigation to defend the Clean Water Act.

In response to the House committee hearing, John Rumpler, senior director of Environment America Clean Water campaigns, said: 

“Americans truly cherish clean water. From a favorite stream for fishing to the water flowing from our kitchen sinks, we all depend as communities and individuals on clean water to survive and thrive.

Yet polluters and their allies in Congress continue to attack federal protection for the wetlands and streams that millions of Americans rely on for drinking and recreation. This latest Congressional attack on the Clean Water Act comes even as a new scientific study shows the importance of small, isolated wetlands in protecting our rivers, lakes, and bays from pollution. Small streams help provide drinking water to millions of Americans. Wetlands filter out pollutants, provide vital wildlife habitat and protect our communities from flooding in a climate-changed world.

Rather than assaulting our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, Congress should be focused on doing more to protect clean water. We will not rest until all of America’s waterways get the protection they deserve.”