Press Release

11 Attorneys General Oppose 2-Year Delay of Clean Water Rule in New Comments

AGs to EPA: Proposed Rule "completely ignores the agencies’ prior findings and the record supporting the Clean Water Rule"

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.— Eleven attor­neys gen­er­al announced today they have filed com­ments with the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency (EPA) to oppose its recent­ly pro­posed rule to delay the Clean Water Rule by two years. The com­ments were filed by the attor­neys gen­er­al of: Cal­i­for­nia; New York, Hawai’i; Maine; Mary­land; Mass­a­chu­setts; Ore­gon; Rhode Island; Ver­mont; Wash­ing­ton; and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia.

In the com­ments, the attor­neys gen­er­al argue the delay vio­lates the pro­ce­dur­al require­ments of notice and com­ment rule­mak­ing under the Admin­is­tra­tive Pro­ce­dures Act (APA);” vio­lates the APA because it is in excess of the agen­cies’ statu­to­ry juris­dic­tion and author­i­ty;” and is arbi­trary, capri­cious and con­trary to law,” par­tial­ly because Admin­is­tra­tor Pruitt’s involve­ment in the rule­mak­ing is ille­gal” and ren­ders a final rule invalid due to his refusal to fol­low ethics review procedures…in light of his lack of impar­tial­i­ty, and because the clear and con­vinc­ing evi­dence demon­strates his closed mind on the mat­ter in vio­la­tion of due process.”

Clean water is a basic right – fun­da­men­tal to New York­ers’ health, envi­ron­ment, and econ­o­my,” New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Schnei­der­man said. The Trump administration’s pro­posed sus­pen­sion of the Clean Water Rule is clear­ly ille­gal, and would jeop­ar­dize the clean, healthy water on which New York­ers rely. Attor­neys Gen­er­al will fight back against this reck­less dirty water’ pro­pos­al, and the Trump administration’s con­tin­ued assault on our nation’s core pub­lic health and envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions.”

It’s clear that the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion con­tin­ues to oper­ate as if it is above the law. It ignores the plain truth that the Clean Water Rule is the prod­uct of facts, sci­ence and exten­sive delib­er­a­tion,” said Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Becer­ra. The stakes could­n’t be high­er for Cal­i­for­nia – if the Clean Water Rule is rolled back, many of our water­ways may lose impor­tant fed­er­al safe­guards. The Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Jus­tice won’t stand idly by and let that hap­pen.”

This pro­posed rule sus­pen­sion would roll back years of progress in restor­ing the Chesa­peake Bay and threat­en our sup­ply of clean drink­ing water,” said Mary­land Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bri­an Frosh. We will fight back against the relent­less and ille­gal assault on crit­i­cal envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions by Pres­i­dent Trump and Admin­is­tra­tor Pruitt.”

Ear­li­er this year, pri­or to propos­ing a two-year delay of the Clean Water Rule, the Admin­is­tra­tion sought to repeal the Rule entire­ly. In response, nine state attor­neys gen­er­al filed com­ments with the EPA in Sep­tem­ber oppos­ing repeal.

In pro­mul­gat­ing the Clean Water Rule the agen­cies con­sid­ered an exten­sive fac­tu­al record and legal prece­dent, and applied their expe­ri­ence devel­oped since 1977 as well as their tech­ni­cal expertise…the rescis­sion of the Clean Water Rule and the pro­mul­ga­tion of the repeal rule would be arbi­trary and capri­cious and not in accor­dance with law. We respect­ful­ly urge the agen­cies to revise the rule address­ing the defi­cien­cies dis­cussed below or pro­ceed no fur­ther with it,” wrote the attor­neys gen­er­al in their com­ments.

ABOUT THE STATE IMPACT CEN­TER: The State Ener­gy & Envi­ron­men­tal Impact Cen­ter is a non-par­ti­san Cen­ter at the NYU School of Law that is ded­i­cat­ed to help­ing state attor­neys gen­er­al fight against reg­u­la­to­ry roll­backs and advo­cate for clean ener­gy, cli­mate change, and envi­ron­men­tal val­ues and pro­tec­tions. It was launched in August 2017 with sup­port from Bloomberg Phil­an­thropies. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it http://​www​.law​.nyu​.edu/​c​e​n​t​e​r​s​/​s​t​a​t​e​-​i​mpact.