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In Water Rule Repeal, Trump Imperils Drinking Water Sources Serving 117 Million People

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(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

WASHINGTON – Today the Trump administration will release its long-awaited plan to repeal critical safeguards that prohibit the dumping of pollution into sensitive waterways which provide tap water for more than 117 million Americans, according to a report by the New York Times.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to significantly roll back federal protections for a number of water sources under the Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS, put in place in 2015 by President Obama.

Under the Trump administration’s proposed rule, many small streams and wetlands that provide much of the drinking water for one-third of the U.S. population will no longer be protected.

Industry and agribusiness have been pushing for years to roll back the Clean Water Rule and protect only the biggest streams and rivers.

“Even a child understands that small streams flow into large streams and lakes – which provide drinking water for so many Americans,” said EWG’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, Craig Cox. “By removing safeguards and allowing industry to dump pollutants into these water sources, Trump’s EPA is ensuring more contamination challenges for utilities and dirtier water for their customers.”

“Sadly, what apparently motivates President Trump and Mr. Wheeler is taking a wrecking ball to anything the Obama administration erected to protect public health and our natural resources,” Cox said.

In 30 different states, small streams provide some percentage of drinking water for 1 million or more people – more than 110 million total. More than 8 million people in New York, Texas and Pennsylvania get drinking water from small streams – a total of almost 31 million – as do more than 5 million in Ohio and California – a total of 12.6 million.

In March 2017, shortly after President Trump signed an executive order setting the repeal of WOTUS in motion, the Environmental Working Group released an analysis of the communities whose drinking water would be most threatened by the lifting of protections for these small streams and wetlands.Industry and agribusiness have been pushing for years to roll back the Clean Water Rule and protect only the biggest streams and rivers.

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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