Clean Water Act Turns 51, Weaker Than Ever

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the Clean Water Act’s 51st anniversary, the law has never been weaker as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Sackett v. EPA.

“For five decades the Clean Water Act has protected our drinking water, our wildlife and our communities, said Jim Murphy, director of legal advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation. “But this year, at the bidding of polluting industries, the Supreme Court has thrown out protections for nearly two-thirds of our wetlands and put millions of miles of streams at risk. As a result, floods will do more damage, triggering higher insurance rates and water bills. For at-risk species, the loss of these wetlands could increase their risk of extinction.”

The EPA estimates that 63 percent of the nation's wetlands and up to 4.9 million miles of streams will lose federal protections as a result of the decision. Roughly half of species federally listed as threatened or endangered species rely on wetlands.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is holding a hearing on Sackett’s implications on October 18 at 10 a.m.  


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