Water Quality
October 14 2015

Legal Setback for the Clean Water Rule

by Mara Dias

On October 9, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit granted a nationwide stay against the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Rule while legal challenges from 18 different states are heard.  Media coverage here:  www.reuters.com

The Surfrider Foundation has joined environmental and community organizations across the country to support the Clean Water Rule which went into effect on August 28, 2015.  We have submitted comments to the EPA in support of a strong rule, and have petitioned our leaders in Congress to not interfere with this administrative process to protect Clean Water.  Read more here. 

Unfortunately the Clean Water Rule has long faced opposition from polluting industries such as oil, gas and coal companies, developers and corporate agribusiness.  Detractors have made good headway in mis-representing the Clean Water Rule as being government over-reach, a land-grab, and harmful to farmers.  The truth is that the EPA is just trying to clarify waters that are protected under the Clean Water Act, and restoring the law's authority to what it once was before the Supreme Court made jurisdiction unclear in two bad rulings in 2001 and 2006.

This legal stay is an unfortunate setback in the Administration's efforts to protect clean water for everyone.  Over 80% of Americans polled support the Clean Water Rule because we realize that we all need clean water.  Hopefully this setback will only be temporary, and we can look forward to real progress on this issue soon.   The protection of nearly 20 million acres of wetlands, two million miles of streams, and the drinking water for 117 million Americans depend on it.  

For more info, read EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy's blog on why the Clean Water Rule is needed