Executive Director, PennEnvironment
Today, Senator Casey and other champions of clean water beat back an attempt by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to roll back the Clean Water Rule, which restores protections for streams that feed the Schuylkill and helps provide drinking water for over eight million Pennsylvanians. Senator Toomey joined Senator Barrasso and other polluter allies to vote oppose the rule.
More than 800,000 Americans, including 30,000 Pennsylvanians, have backed the recently finalized Clean Water Rule. Despite being backed by more than 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific studies, the Clean Water Rule has drawn the ire of a wide variety of powerful polluting interests—including big developers, agribusinesses, and coal-giant Murray Energy—who have vowed to fight in the measure in Congress and in the courts.
“We’re disappointed to see Senator Toomey side with the polluters rather than with Pennsylvanians and our rivers and lakes,” said Zoë Cina-Sklar, Clean Water Organizer with PennEnvironment, “but we’re glad Senator Casey and clean water won today.”
The Clean Water Rule returns safeguards under the Clean Water Act to two million miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands across the nation, which were left vulnerable to pollution and development following a pair of Supreme Court decisions in the 2000’s. These threatened waterways include more than half of Pennsylvania’s streams.
Today’s attempt to overturn the rule won’t be the last. 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 is one of several,” said Cina-Sklar. “But with the strong backing of Senator Casey, the President, and Pennsylvanians, the Clean Water Rule will survive, and our rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands will get the protections they deserve.”