‘With many of our cities and towns living with unsafe drinking water, now is not the time to cut back on clean water enforcement.’


ANN ARBOR, MICH. (April 15, 2019)—The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and its member groups are opposing a move by the Trump Administration to roll back clean water protections across the country. If this rule goes into effect, many of the nation’s streams and wetlands will lose clean water protections. These at-risk waters feed public drinking water systems for millions of people in the eight-state region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.


Today marks the final day of public comment on the Trump Administration’s clean water roll-back. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and its member groups submitted comments opposing the move and urging the administration to withdraw its proposed rule.


“We strongly oppose the Trump Administration’s attempt to weaken clean water protections,” said Chad Lord, policy director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “With many of our cities and towns living with unsafe drinking water, now is not the time to cut back on clean water enforcement. We need more – not less – protection for clean water. The federal government needs to step up its efforts to protect our drinking water, not scale back the rules for polluters. We urge the administration to withdraw the proposed rule that undermines efforts to restore the Great Lakes, threatens our drinking water, jeopardizes our public health, harms our outdoor recreation economy, and diminishes our quality of life.”


“This new proposal would be a significant step backwards, putting in place substantial rollbacks to clean water protections and leading to time-consuming confusion regarding Clean Water Act jurisdiction,” the Coalition states in its letter to the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers. “The proposal could threaten a return to an era that saw the rapid loss of wetlands and increase pollution of waterways across the region.”


The Trump Administration’s roll-back will remove from Clean Water Act protections from all ephemeral streams and some intermittent streams and headwaters—although the final rule may go even further. These waters feed drinking water supplies and provide a home for fish and wildlife.


“We cannot allow pollution from mining and manufacturing and large farms into small waterways without it affecting the rest of the water we all depend on,” said Lord. “We all know that wetlands flow into streams, which flow into small rivers, into bigger rivers, and into lakes, including our Great Lakes.”


Over the last 10 years, the federal government has made Great Lakes restoration a national priority, investing more than $3.1 billion to restore and protect the lakes by cleaning up toxic pollution, restoring fish and wildlife habitat, and reducing runoff pollution.


“Federal Great Lakes restoration investments are producing results in communities across the region, but serious threats remain,” said Lord. “Weakening clean water protections puts those gains at risk. If the White House refuses to withdraw this misguided rule, it will be incumbent on the U.S. House and Senate to stand up for our drinking water, Great Lakes, public health, and way of life.