Help Stop Three Attacks on Clean Water

Both wildlife and people across America deserve nothing less than clean water in our lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands. We all deserve the certainty that the water coming from the tap in our homes, schools, and offices will always be safe to drink. To have clean water, we need clear federal protections that safeguard our drinking water and the streams and wetlands that supply it.

Yet the current leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency and too many members of Congress seem hell-bent on undermining those protections through a combination of unchecked agency action and budget cuts to critical parts of the EPA that enforce these protections.

Tell Congress to oppose measures that undermine the Clean Water Act – and other important environmental protections that keep wildlife and us safe – that are being tacked on by industry interests to the 2018 spending bill.

Act Now

Even as Congress and the Administration threaten our nation’s drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation economy, we stand ready to fight. Join us in the three-pronged defense of clean water outlined below:

The seasonal wetlands protected by the Clean Water Rule are home to more than half of North American migratory waterfowl including mallards, gadwall, and redhead ducks. Photo by Amanda Carey.

#1: Stop the Environmental Protection Agency from Illegally Suspending Clean Water Protections:

The Clean Water Rule, finalized in 2015, restores protections to small streams and wetlands that flow downstream into our nation’s larger rivers and lakes like the Chesapeake Bay, Mississippi River, and the Great Lakes. The rule provides the certainty that these waters – the waters that supply drinking water for more than 117 million Americans and serve as critical fish and wildlife habitat – will remain free of pollution.

Earlier this month, Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency, took away the certainty that our waters are safe to drink, fish, and swim in. Faced with the prospect of enforcing the Clean Water Rule in the coming days, the Trump administration haphazardly pushed through a regulation that delays these protections until 2020. The public comment period for this suspension tactic began the day before Thanksgiving and was only open for 21 days, limiting the public’s ability to provide comments. Keep in mind, the public comment period to inform the 2015 Clean Water Rule was open for more than 200 days to ensure that the voices of all Americans were heard.

The administration’s plan is to suspend the rule long enough for them to propose and implement a new rule. Administrator Pruitt has indicated that this new rule would roll back the Clean Water Act, eliminating clean water protections for 60% of the nation’s stream miles and more than 20 million acres of wetlands nationwide.

Common Loon with Chick. Photo by Wayne Wetherbee.

#2: Fight the Anti-democratic Attempt to Make Clean Water Rule Repeal Easier

Congress is considering an appropriations bill to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2018 that must be voted on by March 23rd. This bill could include a provision that allows the EPA to repeal the Clean Water Rule in defiance of the law and the overwhelming public support for the Rule. This would allow the agency charged with protecting the environment for everyone to entirely ignore the voices of everyone – from hunters and anglers, to business owners and public health groups – who commented in support of the Clean Water Rule and who spoke out to oppose the agency’s proposal to repeal it. More than fifty hunter, angler, and conservation groups have opposed this anti-democratic rider.

Hunters and anglers support the Clean Water Rule because it conserves our nation’s critical headwater streams, shields communities from flooding, supplies drinking water to one in three Americans, and provides essential fish and wildlife habitat that supports a $887 billion outdoor recreation economy. Photo by USFWS.

#3: Oppose the President’s FY19 Budget That Guts Clean Water Programs

The Trump administration’s proposed budget for FY19, contains unprecedented cuts to conservation funding. These cuts eliminate or severely underfund programs that safeguard clean water, protect and restore wildlife habitat, and ensure access to public lands and outdoor recreation. Although the President’s budget is just a request and Congress still has to approve it, the proposal reflects the Administration’s dogged attack on our water resources.

Among other devastating cuts, the proposal eliminates regional ecosystem restoration programs that help states coordinate efforts to reduce pollution, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and safeguard drinking water in watersheds that cross state boundaries, including programs to restore the health of the Everglades, Long Island Sound, and San Francisco Bay. The only two restoration programs left standing, the Great Lakes Restoration and Chesapeake Bay Restoration initiatives, are cut by 90% each.

The budget also leaves states and tribes high and dry. Trump proposes to severely cut or eliminate programs that provide federal money to states and tribal governments to help them operate pollution control programs and meet water quality standards. It eliminates funding for state efforts to control and prevent nonpoint source pollution like agriculture runoff, Clean Water Act Section 319 grants. It also cuts Section 106 grants, which provide money to states to help them improve water quality.

We all know that water doesn’t respect state boundaries. Without federal investment, it will be much more difficult for states to coordinate clean-up initiatives and will cripple on-going and future efforts for states to protect their own waters from pollution.

The Clean Water Rule makes it easier to more accurately identify and protect small streams and wetlands on which frogs and other wildlife depend. Photo by Peter Pearsall, USFWS.


At National Wildlife Federation, we believe that all Americans and our wildlife deserve clean water. We also believe that Americans deserve the certainty that federal rules that protect our health and natural resources are informed by science, facts, public interest, and the law. So we’re doing everything we can to defend water for wildlife and for your community, both in court and in Congress. Along with our partner organizations, we’re suing the Trump administration over their delay rule. We’ve also brought the fight to Congress to protect the Clean Water Act and defend funding for programs that help safeguard our drinking water and fish and wildlife habitat.

Please add your voice to help us with this fight. Tell Congress you expect them to do their job to protect clean water for all.