Press Release Jun 27, 2017

Trump Administration Action Puts National Parks at Risk, Moves to Derail Clean Water Protections

Today, in a devastating blow to national parks and communities that depend on clean water, the Trump Administration calls for the repeal of the Clean Water Rule.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association:

“This dismantling of the Clean Water Rule puts Americans, as well as our national parks and their visitors, at serious risk. Clean water is essential to our health, our parks and our economy. Today’s decision will likely lead to weakening protections for many water bodies in the country including those that surround and flow through our parks.

“From Acadia to Grand Canyon, and Everglades to Glacier, water is a defining value in our national park experiences. More than 330 million annual park visitors enjoy swimming, fishing, paddling and wildlife watching in these treasured places. And clean water and water access remain among the most valued attributes when visiting them.

“Playing politics with our water is not acceptable. This rollback sets back progress made to hold polluters accountable and better protect the drinking water for our communities, and waterways for wildlife and our parks.”

BACKGROUND: Today, in a devastating blow to national parks and communities that depend on clean water, the Trump Administration called for the repeal of the Clean Water Rule. The policy was developed to end confusion about which of our nation’s streams, wetlands, lakes and rivers — the source of drinking water for 117 million Americans — are protected under the 1972 Clean Water Act. In February, President Trump issued an executive order instructing the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to revisit the Clean Water Rule also known as the Waters of the United States rule. Without an adequate new rule, today’s decision will lead to weaker protections for water bodies across the country, including those that surround and flow through our national parks.

Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has protected our nation’s streams, wetlands, lakes and rivers. However, Supreme Court decisions have caused confusion over which streams and wetlands are included under those protections. The Clean Water Rule, finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers during the Obama Administration, aimed to better protect our waters by stating more clearly which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act. The EPA and Army Corps spent nearly a decade of review on this issue including, engaging the public, community leaders, farmers, ranchers, hunters, anglers, and state and local governments about providing clarity to which water bodies will be covered by the Clean Water Act.

More than half of our 417 national park have waterways considered “impaired” under the Clean Water Act, meaning they do not meet healthy water quality standards for activities like drinking, fishing and swimming.

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About National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its 1.2 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, please visit www.npca.org.