CBF Opposes Rollback of EPA Clean Water Protections

(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) opposes a proposed new EPA interpretation of the legal framework for protecting surface waters like streams and the Chesapeake Bay from pollution travelling through groundwater.

Groundwater from sources like coal ash impoundments and large animal operations can carry mercury, arsenic, and other pollutants to waterways such as the Elizabeth, Susquehanna, Potomac, and Patuxent rivers.

EPA has announced that it will not require Clean Water Act permits for discharging pollutants into groundwater that ultimately reaches streams and the Bay. CBF submitted comments today opposing this step.

CBF Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration Lisa Feldt issued the following statement.

"This is yet another EPA regulatory rollback that threatens the recovery of the Chesapeake Bay. The EPA's change in position on groundwater is not supported by facts and science.

"Despite this step backwards at the federal level, Virginia recently recognized grave concerns about groundwater pollution by enacting bipartisan legislation requiring clean closure of four coal ash sites.

"Groundwater is a significant source of water that enters the Chesapeake Bay. Further rolling back these protections will undoubtedly lead to more pollution to local rivers, streams, and the Bay."

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