June 9, 2021 (BOSTON, MA) – The Biden Administration has announced plans to overturn a Trump-era rule that gutted longstanding protections for wetlands and streams across the country. The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition forms the foundation of the Clean Water Act, and the Trump Administration attempted to limit the waters included in the definition for the benefit of the home development and mining industries. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement in response.
“With our nation’s waters under siege from polluters, today’s announcement is a step in the right direction,” said Heather Govern, Director of CLF’s Clean Air and Water Program. “But the Biden Administration must move quickly to officially overturn Trump’s irresponsible dirty water rule. Officials need to get to work redefining Waters of the United States to ensure clean water for current and future generations.”
When the new rule was announced in April 2020, CLF joined forces with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) to represent the Connecticut River Conservancy, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and the Merrimack River Watershed Council in a lawsuit taking on the Trump Administration. The complaint alleges that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers did not conduct the proper analyses before deciding to significantly weaken the WOTUS definition, especially as compared to the more protective Clean Water Rule issued under President Obama.
Biden Administration officials will now craft a new rule, and CLF will be advocating for the expansion of protections for wetlands and streams.
CLF experts are available for further comment.