WASHINGTON, DC -- Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and other U.S. Senate leaders failed to gain enough votes today for a bill to overturn the Clean Water Rule, the Obama administration measure that restores protections for streams that help provide drinking water for 1 in 3 Americans.
Finalized in May, the Clean Water Rule has support from more than 800,000 Americans and is backed by more than 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific studies. But it has drawn the ire of a wide variety of powerful polluting interests -- including big developers, agribusinesses, and coal-giant Murray Energy – who are working with government allies to fight the measure in Congress and in the courts.
“Thanks to all the senators who sided with Americans and with their rivers, lakes and drinking water supplies rather than with the polluters,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney at Environment America, “today clean water won.”
The Clean Water Rule returns safeguards under the Clean Water Act to 2 million miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands left vulnerable to pollution and development following a pair of Supreme Court decisions in the 2000’s.
Today’s attempt to overturn the rule is one of several. Senator Jodi Ernst (R-Iowa) has filed a separate measure to invalidate the rule under the Congressional Review Act, and a vote is expected as soon as this week.
“With leaders in Congress bent on doing polluters’ bidding, we know that today’s attack on clean water won’t be the last,” said Rumpler. “But with the strong backing of the senators who stood up against the polluters today, a majority of Americans, and the president, the Clean Water Rule will survive -- and our rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands will get the protections they deserve.”