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NY/NJ Baykeeper Opposes Proposed Rollback of Clean Water Act Protections

NY/NJ Baykeeper Opposes Proposed Rollback of Clean Water Act Protections

The proposed rollback of federal Clean Water Act protections by the Trump Administration potentially impacts millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of waterways across the U.S., endangering wildlife and their habitats.

Pesticide runoff, industrial waste and other pollutants that are prohibited would now be allowed to contaminate certain wetlands and waterways.

“NY/NJ Baykeeper strongly opposes the Trump administration’s proposal today to roll back Clean Water Act protections,” said Greg Remaud, NY/NJ Baykeeper CEO. “This will cut back crucial protections of wetlands and waterways currently protected by the federal Clean Water Act, and set back progress water quality improvements along the Raritan, Hackensack, Passaic and Hudson Rivers and throughout the Hudson-Raritan Estuary.”

The proposed rule, which could be finalized as early as next year, seeks to protect only waterways that have “a relatively permanent surface connection” to a traditionally navigable body of water.

“In regard to the proposed rule revising the definition of the Waters of the United States, the rollbacks would drastically reduce the number of waterways protected by the Clean Water Act,” said NY/NJ Baykeeper Staff Attorney Michele Langa. “In turn, the removal of CWA protections means a loss of legal consequences for polluters. The long-term ramifications are significant to maintaining safe drinking water sources and overall water quality standards in the US and disheartening to those who fought to protect and recover the many contaminated waterways in the US that existed prior to the CWA.”