Clean Water Action: Court Ruling Affirms that the Dirty Water Rule must go

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Washington, DC -- A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona has vacated the Trump administration's “Navigable Waters Protection Rule.” Otherwise known as the “Dirty Water Rule”, this policy curtailed water pollution protections for many streams, wetlands, and drinking water sources.

In deciding the suit brought by Earthjustice and six tribes, the court found that the Trump administration's Navigable Waters Protection Rule would cause “serious environmental harm". At issue is the question of what water is protected by the landmark Clean Water Act's water pollution programs.

"This ruling affirms what we have said since the beginning -- the Dirty Water Rule was sloppy, ignored the latest scientific findings about water quality, and put vital water bodies at risk of pollution and destruction," said Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director for Clean Water Action. “Now it’s up to EPA to officially repeal this disastrous policy and draft a replacement that actually lives up to the goals of the Clean Water Act by ensuring all of our water is protected."

The Biden administration has committed to reviewing the last administration’s decisions and to putting more protective policies in place. During a public listening session on August 26, Clean Water Action Water Programs Director Jennifer Peters urged EPA to repeal the “Dirty Water Rule” put in place by the last administration immediately and to work expeditiously to clarify protections because “. . . every day the rule remains in effect, it threatens vital streams that feed drinking water sources and wetlands that protect communities from flooding.”

Clean Water Action will engage the Biden administration initiatives to protect streams, wetlands, and other water bodies and to repeal the Dirty Water Rule as soon as possible.


Since the organization’s founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking, and people power to the table.

Michael Kelly
202-895-0420 x 103