Washington, DC – U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski along with other champions of clean water beat back an attempt today by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to undo the Clean Water Rule, which restores protections to steams that feed the Chesapeake Bay and help provide drinking water for 3.9 million Maryland residents.
Finalized in May, the Clean Water Rule has support from more than 800,000 Americans, including 25,000 Marylanders, and is backed by more than 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific studies. But the rule has drawn the ire of a wide variety of powerful polluting interests, including big developers, agribusinesses and coal-giant Murray Energy, which have vowed to fight in the measure in Congress and in the courts.
“We’re glad to see Senators Cardin and Mikulski continue to side with Marylanders and our rivers and lakes rather than the polluters,” said Christy Leavitt, Regional Director with Environment Maryland, “and we’re glad that clean water won today.”
The Clean Water Rule returns safeguards under the Clean Water Act to millions of acres of wetlands and 2 million miles of streams, including more than half of Maryland’s streams, left vulnerable to pollution and development following a pair of U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the 2000’s.
Today’s attempt to overturn the rule won’t be the last. Senator Jodi Ernst (R-Iowa) has filed a separate measure to invalidate the rule under the Congressional Review Act, and a vote is expected as soon as later this week.
“With leaders in Congress bent on doing polluters’ bidding, we know that today’s attack on clean water will be one of several,” said Leavitt. “With the strong backing of Senators Cardin and Mikulski, President Obama and Marylanders, the Clean Water Rule will survive, and our rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands will get the protections they deserve.”
Environment Maryland is a statewide citizen based environment advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.