CLF Sues Trump Administration Over Unlawful Rollback of Clean Water Protections

Groups challenge rewrite of the definition of “Waters of the United States”

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April 29, 2020 (BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) filed a lawsuit today challenging the Trump Administration’s rollback of protections for wetlands and streams across the United States. The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition forms the foundation of the Clean Water Act, and the administration’s new rule limits the waters included in the definition.

“At a time when our nation’s waters are under siege from polluters, we need more protections, not less,” said Heather Govern, Director of CLF’s Clean Air and Water Program. “This heinous new rule is another Trump Administration giveaway to industries at the expense of our environment, and it cannot go unchecked.”

CLF has joined forces with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), Connecticut River Conservancy, Massachusetts Audubon Society, and Merrimack River Watershed Council to take on the Trump Administration and file the lawsuit. The complaint alleges, among other things, that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers did not do the proper analyses before deciding to significantly weaken the law, especially as compared to the more protective, Obama-era WOTUS rule, the Clean Water Rule.

The Clean Water Rule created additional coverage for about 3 percent of the nation’s waters and held industries accountable for polluting smaller water bodies across the country.

The Trump Administration first rolled back the Clean Water Rule’s protections last fall, then issued its new rule on Tuesday, April 21.

CLF experts are available for further comment.