Two Democratic lawmakers have introduced a bill to block the implementation of a Trump administration rule limiting the scope of bodies of water that fall under federal jurisdiction.
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure chair Rep. Peter DeFazio, of Oregon, and Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Rep. Grace Napolitano, of California, submitted a bill to block the Navigable Waters Protection Rule finalized in April.
The 1972 Clean Water Act made it illegal to discharge any pollutant into “waters of the United States,” unless a permit was obtained.
The exact definition of “waters of the United States” was contested in courts for decades.
The Obama administration attempted to clarify the rule by expanding the definition to include more water bodies that flow directly or indirectly, to navigable waters.
The Trump rule eliminated the 2015 rule and narrowed the definition to four types, leaving other waters under often more lenient state jurisdiction.
The bill’s authors said the Trump administration wrote the rule to benefit polluters at the expense of the health of people who depend on those waters.
“By removing critical protections at the behest of industry, Trump’s Dirty Water Rule will make streams and waterways more vulnerable to pollution, which is devastating for the 117 million Americans who rely on these waterways for drinking water,” said DeFazio.
More than a dozen leading environmental organizations have backed the bill, including Earthjustice, the League of Conservation Voters, the Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Sierra Club.