Trump Administration Illegally Erodes Clean Water Act

Trump, Wheeler Scrap Crucial Tool for States to Protect their Water

Doug Jackson, 202.495.3045 or

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that illegally scraps section 401 of the Clean Water Act, removing a vital mechanism states use to protect their clean water. The rule change severely limits the time and tools states and tribes have to properly evaluate the effect federally permitted projects, like pipelines and other fossil fuel facilities, would have on waterways. This could force states to approve water permit applications with insufficient data or prematurely grant authority to issue permits to the federal government. Under the new rules, if a state denies a water permit application for not sufficiently protecting water quality, EPA could decide the state is “waiving” their rights and approve the permit without a state’s approval.

In response, the Sierra Club’s Senior Campaign Representative for the Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign, Joan Walker released the following statement:

"The Trump Administration continues to be more interested in handouts for polluting corporations than protecting our drinking water. This erosion of our fundamental clean water protections drastically limits states’ ability to protect their water at a time when access to clean water is more important than ever. It’s a shame that we can’t trust the polluting corporations behind these dirty, dangerous projects to protect our water, but it’s tragic that we can’t trust our own president to do it.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit