Since being elected, the Trump administration has relentlessly attacked the protective reach of the Clean Water Act, a federal law that protects clean water and safeguards valuable habitat for fish and wildlife. For years, big polluters have been trying to weaken the Clean Water Act. Under the Trump Administration, they are have been successful in getting their way.
PEER has joined with the Southern Environmental Law Center and other groups to sue the EPA for changing the definition of “water of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. This change may be the most damaging environmental rollback of the Trump Administration. This rule change threatens clean drinking water sources throughout the United States. It would remove a host of upstream waters, such as smaller streams, tributaries and millions of acres of wetlands from protection under the Clean Water Act. More than half of the stream miles in the United States are now at risk of pollution, dumping and filling, as well as millions of acres of wetlands in the contiguous United States.
Every previous modern president of both parties has extolled the importance of protecting wetlands. By contrast, Trump has denigrated the policies of his predecessors, claiming they protect puddles and ditches, even though both are explicitly excluded from WOTUS.
In addition to suing the EPA, PEER has filed a Scientific Integrity complaint against EPA senior officials for excluding both key scientific information and the analysis of its own experts. The complaint summarizes the accounts of current EPA employees and is co-signed by 44 former and current federal employees, including three former regional administrators, as well as experts from the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.