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California Attorney General's Office

04/15/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/15/2019 16:40

Attorney General Becerra Tells EPA and Army Corps to Withdraw Proposal Eliminating Water Protections

Rule would exclude a majority of California's waterways from protection

SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Becerra today joined a multistate comment letter urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) to withdraw a proposed rule that would exclude much of our nation's waterways from vital federal protections. The proposal is the most recent step in the Trump Administration's plan to dismantle long-standing pollution control measures in the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule seeks to repeal the Clean Water Rule enacted during the Obama Administration and replace it with a narrow definition of protected waters. This change would eliminate federal protections for many wetlands, rivers, creeks, streams, and tributaries. Under the revised rule, a large portion of California's surface waters would be deprived of federal protection.

'California can't and won't go back to a time when water pollution was the norm,' said Attorney General Becerra. 'This proposal would significantly harm California waterways and the people, plants and animals who depend on them. We urge the EPA and Army Corps to withdraw this ill-conceived proposal.'

In the letter, the Attorneys General assert that the replacement rule is inconsistent with and contradictory to the Clean Water Act, is unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act, and would have a negative impact on the nation's water. The agency's proposal to revise the rule is arbitrary and capricious. It is furthermore unlawful in that it fails to consider important issues, lacks factual and legal support, and ignores the Agencies' previous findings and conclusions that were based on current peer-reviewed science. The Attorneys General urge the agencies to withdraw the unlawful rule.

Attorney General Becerra joins the Attorneys General of New York, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia in filing the letter.

A copy of the letter can be found here.