WASHINGTON -- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the recently implemented Dirty Water Rule that highlighted the threat the rollback has placed on our waterways. The rule, which revoked federal protections for thousands of waterways and nearly half of all wetlands across the country, was instated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) despite widespread public opposition.
This rule comes after lobbyists for corporate agribusiness, land developers, and the oil and gas industry have long demanded removing federal protections 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.
Environment America’s Clean Water Advocate Laura Miller issued the following statement:
“Without a doubt, the Dirty Water Rule endangers the waterways millions of Americans swim, fish and boat in. It also pollutes sources we drink water from. By wiping out protections for countless streams that feed iconic waterways and drinking water sources, and jeopardizing vital wetlands that filter pollutants and absorb flood waters, it causes devastating damage to our country.
“Without federal protections, the responsibility of safeguarding our water quality falls on states and tribes -- and the industries with a history of polluting them. But as we heard in the hearing today, states are ill-equipped to implement strong clean water protections and industry is taking advantage of the rollback.
“The Dirty Water Rule ignores the intent of the Clean Water Act, which a bipartisan Congress passed in 1972 after state-by-state efforts to clean the nation’s waters failed. It disregards the widespread public support for water protections, and even EPA’s own science advisors, in favor of special interest. We must reverse the Dirty Water Rule and stop EPA from opening our waters to polluters.”