Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Representative Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.), Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, and Representative Don Beyer (D-Va.) submitted an amicus brief on behalf of 74 current Members of Congress, as well as three former Members, to the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, in the case of Conservation Law Foundation et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency et al.

In the amicus brief, the lawmakers assert that the Trump administration’s so-called Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR)—also known as the Dirty Water Rule—ignores science, fails to provide Congress with basic information about the impacts of this rule, and undermines the ability of states to protect their own water quality.

“In 1972, Congress enacted the Clean Water Act, a landmark statute with the core objective of cleaning up the nation’s waters. The NWPR turns this statutory scheme on its head,” the lawmakers wrote. “…the NWPR is arbitrary, capricious, and grounded in misunderstandings of governing statutory law.”

Finalized in April 2020, the Dirty Water Rule is a draconian rollback of clean water protections over the nation’s rivers, streams, and wetlands, jeopardizing the safe drinking water of over a hundred million American households. The Dirty Water Rule reinterprets decades-old Clean Water Act protections endorsed by Republican and Democratic administrations alike—virtually assuring the destruction of rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands throughout the nation. 

Internal EPA documents estimate that the Dirty Water Rule would eliminate federal clean water protections for as many as 60 percent of stream miles in the lower 48 states that do not flow year-round—almost 2 million stream miles—and an estimated 110 million acres of wetlands.

Read the lawmakers’ full amicus brief here.

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