Statement: Senate votes to weaken Clean Water Act

Media Contacts
John Rumpler

Clean Water Director and Senior Attorney, Environment America

Larry D. Moore | Public Domain
The Guadalupe River

Dirty water resolution would endanger America’s waterways

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate voted 53-43 on Wednesday to repeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule that protects many of the nation’s wetlands and streams under the Clean Water Act. President Biden has vowed to veto the repeal measure.

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.

Environment America has worked for decades to ensure that all of our waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act — issuing research reports, generating public comments and organizing the support of businesses, doctors and local leaders. Environment America has also participated in litigation to defend the Clean Water Act.

In response to the Senate vote, John Rumpler, senior clean water director for Environment America, said:

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

“Yet 53 senators just voted to reject Clean Water Act protections for many of America’s remaining wetlands, and to streams that millions of Americans rely on for drinking and recreation. This dirty water resolution comes even as a new scientific study shows the importance of 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.

“Especially in the wake of the toxic train disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, senators should be doing everything they can to protect clean water. All of America’s waterways deserve the full protection of our government.”