Carper Statement on SCOTUS Clean Water Act Determination
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), issued the following statement on the Supreme Court decision to reinstate a Trump-Administration regulation that constrains states’ authorities under the Clean Water Act Section 401 to review, modify, or deny permits for federal infrastructure projects that could affect their water quality.
“As a former governor, I am shocked that the Supreme Court would rely on its ‘shadow docket’ — typically reserved for emergencies — to reinstate a Trump-era regulation that flies in the face of the absolutely clear role Congress reserved to states under the Clean Water Act. Without explanation, without hearing on the merits, the Supreme Court has revived a rule that hamstrings states’ ability to protect their waters, defend their citizens, and preserve their public and economic health,” said Senator Carper. “This is wrong on the substance and wrong on the process. There is too much at stake to simply cave to the interests of a very few energy companies who find themselves compromised by this hugely important, and very clear, law.”
In June of 2019, the Trump Administration issued guidance for the regulation that undermines states’ rights to review applications for CWA Section 401 water quality certifications. In response, Senator Carper was joined by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) — his fellow co-founders of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus — in sending a letter to EPA demanding information related to the agency’s efforts to modify the process for state review of applications.
In October 2019, the three senators sent another letter to the agency and urged EPA to reverse course on its proposal. The senators wrote that the proposed changes undercut state authorities, violate congressional intent, face bipartisan opposition from state regulators and are unnecessary due to states’ longtime responsible and expeditious handling of Section 401 responsibilities.