Ann Arbor, Mich. (August 31, 2021) —The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is pleased to see the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule vacated by the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona because the rule causes environmental harm. Restoring protections for streams and wetlands has been a priority of the Coalition.
“This decision is a victory for millions of people who depend on streams and wetlands for their drinking water and their health,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “With so many of our cities and towns living with unsafe drinking water, we need more – not less – protections for clean water. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration to put in place solid clean water protections to protect our drinking water, public health, and Great Lakes.”
The ruling comes as the result of a lawsuit by six federally recognized Indigenous tribes (Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Tohono O’odham Nation, Quinault Indian Nation, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) represented by Earthjustice, who sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for passing a rule that eliminated Clean Water Act protections for thousands of miles of streams and wetlands.
The HOW Coalition, along with 56 member organizations, submitted a letter to the EPA and the Army Corps as part of the public engagement process, to support revising the definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act in order to protect the Great Lakes and our drinking water. The letter can be read below.
The Navigable Waters Protection Rule was a significant step backward for the health of the Great Lakes region’s waterways. The Trump Administration’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence of the connectivity of waterways that we all rely on; discounted the negative impacts of unregulated pollution in ephemeral and intermittent streams; disregarded the importance of wetlands; and placed our drinking water and the waters that drive our economy at great risk.
The Coalition now urges the Biden Administration to move ahead immediately to restore and implement the regulatory definition in effect prior to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule and begin the rulemaking process on its replacement by the end of the year.
Since 2004, the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition has been harnessing the collective power of more than 170 groups representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Learn more at HealthyLakes.org or follow us on Twitter @HealthyLakes.
Jordan Lubetkin, LubetkinJ@nwf.org, (734) 904-1589
Lindsey Bacigal, BacigalL@nwf.org, (734) 887-7113