State

New York attorney general leads opposition against Trump’s elimination of Clean Water Rule

Moriah Ratner | Staff Photographer

Trump signed an executive order Tuesday ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Clean Water Rule, which is also known as Waters of the United States.

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Tuesday condemned President Donald Trump’s move to scale back a rule on clean water, joining several other state attorney generals that are opposing the president’s action.

Trump signed an executive order Tuesday ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Clean Water Rule, which is also known as Waters of the United States. The rule protects waterways and tributaries that are connected to downstream waters and wetlands from pollution, according to an EPA website.

While acknowledging the importance of protecting clean water, the executive order stated that it is in the nation’s interest to promote economic growth and minimize regulation.

The rule, which became effective in 2015, was frequently criticized by Republicans who viewed it as an example of excessive federal control, according to The Hill. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit later temporarily suspended the rule.

In a joint press release with attorney generals from Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont and the District of Columbia, Schneiderman said the group of attorney generals will exercise their authority to protect people and the environment by “aggressively opposing” the order in court.

“We strongly oppose President Trump’s action today that undermines Clean Water Act protections and the public health and environment of our states,” Schneiderman said in the release. “The President’s order runs counter to the Clean Water Act’s, and the EPA’s, very purpose: achieving clean water. The Clean Water Rule is a measured, reasonable, and lawful application of sound and uncontroverted science to protect our nation’s upstream source waters. We rely on these waters to ensure clean drinking water, recreation, and viable commercial fishing and navigation.”

Eliminating the rule not only triggers pollution, but also burdens states economically as they use their resources to clean up the pollution, Schneiderman said.

“Clean water is essential to life — and the people of our states and the nation deserve the basic protections established by the Clean Water Rule, to ensure that the benefits of clean water are shared equally, regardless of state lines,” Schneiderman said.

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