Scott Pruitt’s priorities as EPA administrator and his support for the Trump Administration’s deep cuts to his own agency will do lasting harm to people in his home state of Oklahoma and beyond. Pruitt is setting back the clock on environmental progress where residents have fought so hard for even minimal protections from dangerously high levels of air and water pollution from coal, oil and gas.

Al Armendariz, Deputy Director, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign

The Clean Water Rule took a vital step towards safeguarding our nation’s clean water supply. Not only is the Trump Administration working to repeal the Clean Water Rule, the budget also includes massive cuts that represent an unprecedented attack on our country’s rivers and our clean drinking water.

The Clean Water Rule is based on more than 1200 publications of peer-reviewed science and was reviewed by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board. It protects small streams and wetlands because science tells us that small streams and wetlands are connected to and have a strong influence on the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of downstream waterways such as rivers.

The Clean Water Rule provides protection for the small streams and wetlands that contribute to the drinking water sources of one in three Americans. People need clean water to drink and businesses, like the beverage and outdoor recreation industries, rely on clean water to be profitable.

Small streams and wetlands also protect communities from flooding. Climate change is exacerbating our nation’s susceptibility to disastrous flooding events and these small streams, wetlands, and floodplains help to store floodwaters before they reach communities and cause destruction. They also recharge groundwater supplies, provide space for recreation, absorb pollutants, and provide critical habitat to many species and more.

Other proposed EPA cuts that will impact our water include the following:

Elimination of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an important federal funding source that has provided $300 million annually for communities and park restoration projects in the region, is used to restore habitat for birds and fish, control invasive species, and reduce runoff from cities and farms to improve water quality for the more than 30 million Americans that depend on the lakes for their drinking water.

Elimination of the Chesapeake Bay Program. With more than 50 national parks in the watershed, eliminating the Chesapeake Bay Program threatens the overall health of the Chesapeake by stopping the progress made to restore native oysters, which help filter and remove pollution. These cuts would also stop the implementation of the bipartisan Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint – a historic and comprehensive pollution reduction plan for restoring clean water in the region’s streams, creeks and rivers.

Elimination of the South Florida geographic program, which helps ensure clean water flows through Everglades National Park and Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge by monitoring and enforcing the pollution limit and working with the State of Florida on the Stormwater Treatment Areas, a successful state-federal partnership that has resulted in improved water quality for the Everglades.