Waters of the United States

For years, big polluters have been trying to weaken the Clean Water Act. Under the Trump Administration, they got their way. 

Waters and Wetlands - photo of Bird in WetlandThat is why PEER 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 rule change threatens clean drinking water sources throughout the United States. It removes 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 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​ in writing this rule. 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. ​The complaint has not yet been acted upon by the Biden administration.

​We will work around the clock to press the Biden administration to stand strong against big polluters and make sure our waterways have the protections they need.


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