Skip to content (press enter)
They are how we protect our special coastal places

Defend the Clean Water Rule

President Trump's administration has replaced the Clean Water Rule with a revised rule that weakens Clean Water protections for nearly half of the remaining wetlands in the US and two million miles of streams that provide drinking water for 117 million Americans.


The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency finalized the Waters of the US (WOTUS), or Clean Water Rule, in August, 2015.  This rule restored CWA protections to intermittent streams and wetlands as previously defined before two Supreme Court decisions made in 2001 & 2006 made enforcement unclear.   

These small streams and wetlands need our protection as they impact the quality and health of downstream coastal waters and ultimately the ocean.  These upstream waters contribute to our drinking water supplies, provide flood protection and recreational opportunities, and support healthy communities and strong economies.

Since 2015, political pressure and industry interests have delayed implementation of the Clean Water Rule.  Under President Trump's Administration, the EPA has repealed the 2015 rule and has released a new rule that is a radical reintrepretation of the Clean Water Act and is significantly less protective of clean water and public health.  Read more about the Dirty Water Rule issued by the EPA in February 2019. Meanwhile the 2015 rule is still held up in court while lawuits made by several states are decided.  

Surfrider worked with a national network of NGOs to oppose any weakening or roll-backs of Clean Water Act protections, but despite this EPA to issued a revised rule that weakens Clean Water protections in this country.  Learn more about this disappointing decision here.