Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a multi-state coalition that is pressing the Biden administration to repeal a Trump-era rule that substantially reduced clean water protections.
The 2020 rule deprived federal protections for more than half of the wetlands and at least 18% of the streams across the country.
The Biden administration has proposed restoring the 1980s definition of “waters of the United States,” which would effectively repeal the Trump-era rule. The administration is also calling on the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop an even more protective definition to address the impacts of climate change and make it more consistent with up-to-date science and laws.
"In order to properly protect our environment, the EPA and Army Corps’ definition of ‘waters of the United States’ must be expanded and take into account the impacts of climate change,” Nessel said a statement Wednesday. “I urge the administration to strengthen the Clean Water Act and help preserve Michigan water quality.”
The coalition includes attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, the City of New York, and the California State Water Resources Control Board.
Over the past two years, 56 new contaminants have been identified in drinking water, a list that includes PFAS, a class of synthetic chemicals, as well as pesticides, radioactive materials, and water disinfectant byproducts.
A Metro Times analysis earlier this month found an alarming cocktail of toxic chemicals coursing through tap water in virtually every community in metro Detroit. The contamination crosses racial and class lines and is as prevalent in higher-income communities as it is in lower-income ones.
In response to the story, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, called on Congress to "fully fund clean water that needs an estimated $60 billion."
"It shouldn't be this hard," Tlaib tweeted. "We drop everything for polluters, why not for our babies."
56 new contaminants have been identified in drinking water including PFAS and synthetic chemicals, pesticides. We are being poisoned.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) February 8, 2022
It makes me sick that we are the richest country in the world and we can't even provide clean drinking water to our people. #CleanWaterNow https://t.co/gUcMzk4LeR
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