Action Alert: Federal Clean-Water Policy Updates

From our partner organization, Massachusetts Rivers Alliance:

We know you've seen the news about the Trump administration's efforts to repeal the Clean Water Rule - thanks to those of you who weighed in with us to voice your opposition. Below is a detailed update on that issue, an upcoming federal hearing, and an action alert about a federal bill that would extend the life of Clean Water Act permits - please join us in opposing it. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Legislation Extending Pollution Permits - ACTION NEEDED

  • A bill before Congress (H.R. 1764) would double the length of Clean Water Act (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System or NPDES) pollution permits.

  • The Clean Water Act currently requires local permits to be updated every five years. This ensures the most current science, technology, and understanding of water pollution and its impacts are incorporated into pollution limits. This bill would double that time to 10 years—an increase that is not backed by any credible justification.

  • Please call your Member of Congress today and ask that they oppose this bill that puts our waterways at risk. A note that Rep. Stephen Lynch, MA District 8, is a member on the Committee reviewing this legislation. For talking points and call instructions, click here.

Clean Water Rule Repeal - UPDATE

  • Late last week the Trump Administration moved forward with repealing the Clean Water Rule. This was the first step in a two-step rulemaking process to redefine the scope of the Clean Water Rule.

  • Their repeal reinstitutes the state of affairs prior to the Obama administration's 2015 rule – which is based on various informal policies and guidance and conflicting court rulings. “A mess”, as one expert put it. The Trump Administration still needs to finalize their proposed replacement rule and this is likely to be made public within the next four months. As more information about the new rule is made public, we will provide information regarding potential impacts for Massachusetts rivers, streams and wetlands.

  • The repeal-and-replacement process responds to a Feb 28, 2018 Executive Order (EO 13778) directing EPA to rescind the Obama administration's 2015 rule.

  • Thank you to everyone who joined us in submitting comments, signing on to letters and sending action alerts to try and influence this process.

  • There is no formal rule-making action to take at this point, since the comment period has ended. However, this is yet another important example of the Trump Administration’s multi-pronged attack on water protections, and it is important to raise public awareness of this overall campaign.

  • Several national groups are planning a legal appeal of the repeal and we will keep you updated as those proceed.

EPA Lead Water Administrator to Testify