(WASHINGTON, DC)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) condemned the water quality permitting rule the Trump administration finalized today as “an egregious assault” on states’ ability to protect waters within their borders.
The new EPA rule weakens states’ authority under section 401 of the Clean Water Act to ensure that projects to build natural gas pipelines, dams, and other infrastructure that require certain federal permits and licenses do not pollute state waterways.
The rule overturns states’ longstanding right to stop or place conditions on projects that threaten to harm local creeks, streams, and rivers, and shifts final decision-making authority from the states to the federal government.
It also arbitrarily limits how long states can review projects and restricts the potential damages, including the effects of climate change and air pollution, states can consider. Air pollution from major infrastructure projects can harm water quality and public health.
CBF Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration Lisa Feldt made the following statement about the rule:
“This rule is an egregious assault on states’ longstanding authority to safeguard the quality of their own waters. Despite the Trump administration’s professed respect for ‘cooperative federalism,’ it is clearly willing to steamroll states’ rights and greenlight major construction projects with no regard for how they might damage state waters.
“By restricting the ability of the six watershed states and the District of Columbia to protect the 111,000 miles of creeks, streams that feed into the Chesapeake Bay, the administration is once again sabotaging their efforts to reduce pollution from nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment to targeted amounts by the 2025 deadline.”