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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"

"The agencies provide no legal or rational basis for the proposed delay in the implementation of the Clean Water Rule."

December 15, 2017
Contact: stateimpactcenter@nyu.edu

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/centers/state-impact.