December 16, 2020

DeFazio, Napolitano, Beyer, and Carper File Amicus Brief over Trump Administration’s “Dirty Water Rule”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Representative Don Beyer (D-VA), and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Tom Carper (D-DE) submitted an amicus brief on behalf of 74 current Members of Congress and 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 roll back 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 on 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.