Press Release

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OEC Statement on Final Submission of the Dirty Water Rule

Today, on the eve of the 50th Earth Day, the Trump administration submitted its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition to the Federal Register. This action finalizes changes to a federal rule that will remove Clean Water Act protections for numerous wetlands and miles of streams in Ohio, some of which are drinking water sources for Ohioans. The result is what many are calling a “Dirty Water Rule.”

The rule will go into effect on June 22, 2020 but lawsuits are expected to be filed against the Trump administration’s submittal, which could delay and possibly stop implementation of the finalized rule.


The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Pete Bucher, Managing Director of Water Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council:

“On the eve of a milestone Earth Day celebration and during a public health crisis when having access to clean and safe water is more important than ever, this rule change defies our collective progress toward ensuring clean water for all.

“Earlier this year, the administration’s own Science Advisory Board warned that this rule ignores the reams of scientific data showing protections of these streams and wetlands are essential to clean and safe water. This drastic reinterpretation of the Clean Water Act proposes to completely remove federal pollution protections for isolated wetlands and streams that do not flow year-round.

“No Ohioan should have to worry if their drinking water is polluted. The Dirty Water Rule endangers the health and safety of millions of people across Ohio and the country. We will continue our fight against this dangerous rule.”