Statement: Senate hearing highlights need for clean water protections

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing this morning on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to replace the Clean Water Rule. The proposed rule would roll back protections for much of America’s network of waterways.

Bart Johnsen-Harris, clean water advocate for Environment America, issued the following statement:

“The administration’s ‘Dirty Water Rule’ would leave vast networks of America’s rivers, lakes and streams vulnerable to pollution, endangering wildlife and public health. It flies in the face of common sense, sound science and public opinion.

“The Clean Water Rule restored drinking water protections for more than one in three Americans. As illustrated today by the testimony of Chairman Richard Elías—who represents District 5 on the Pima County Board of Supervisors in Arizona—communities depend on these protections. Mr. Elías talked about how toxic TCE chemicals were dumped into stream beds in the Arizona communities he represents, making their way into the drinking water supply. The Clean Water Act has been critical to prevent further pollution. Under the Dirty Water Rule, such streams would no longer be protected under the federal law, once again putting drinking water at risk.

“EPA’s own scientists don’t even agree with this rule. Reports last week showed the Science Advisory Board found ‘gaps between science and policy.’

“Americans demand that we protect all of our waterways. Not just for safe drinking water, but also because our lakes and rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and the wildlife that depends on them.”