Nicholas Thomas

Our Campaigns

Environmental Defense: Our Water

Goal: Defend our water by giving the EPA the money it needs to do its job, keep our streams protected, and more.
Decades ago, some people thought polluted rivers and streams were the price we had to pay for progress. That’s not a world we have to live in anymore. Nor is it the future our children deserve. Yet President Trump and his allies in Congress are pushing for changes that would turn back the clock to when environmental protection was an afterthought—not the foundation for a better quality of life and a brighter future.
  • <h4>IN DEFENSE OF OUR WATER: THE EPA</h4><h5>In 2017, we helped block President Trump’s move to end critical EPA clean water programs. Now we’re working to stop the president and Congress from slashing more funds for clean water.</h5><em>US DOI photo</em>
  • <h4>CLEAN WATER RULE</h4><h5>In 2015, we helped restore protection to nearly 2 million miles of streams, which help provide drinking water to 1 in 3 Americans. Now we have to stop the Trump administration from repealing the Clean Water Rule.</h5><em>Sean Kennedy</em>
  • <h4>YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL WATCHDOG</h4><h5>Our Washington, D.C., team is watching the White House, Congress and regulatory agencies for any attempt to roll back protections for our water, our public lands, our coasts or our climate.</h5><em>Dokaspar, CC-BY-SA-3.0</em>
The EPA's Clean Water Programs

President Trump has called for deep cuts to the EPA budget, cuts that could mean:

  • More companies dump more waste in our water, as federal environmental cops are taken off the clean water beat.
  • Larger dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound, the Great Lakes, Puget Sound and other waters, as grants to state and regional clean water cleanup and restoration programs are slashed.
  • More havoc wreaked in coastal communities, more sewage overflows, and more toxic waste spilled as efforts to protect against storm surges and rising seas stall.

The way we see it, it’s simply wrong to vote against clean water. It should also be a career-ending move. That’s why we’re helping the public connect the votes of their members in Congress with the health of the local waterways they care about most. In 2017, that kind of public outcry blocked the Trump administration’s move to eliminate funds for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and similar programs.

Fishing in Lake Michigan, Grand Haven, Michigan.
Nick Olejniczak
The Clean Water Rule: Protecting 2 million miles of streams

The Clean Water Rule protects nearly 2 million miles of America’s streams, which help provide drinking water for 1 in 3 Americans.

The rule also protects millions of acres of wetlands that provide wildlife habitat and keep pollutants out of waterways from the Great Lakes to the Chesapeake Bay to Puget Sound.

We helped lead the coalition that won the Obama administration’s approval of the rule in 2015. More than 800,000 Americans—including more than 1,000 business owners, local officials, farmers, doctors and nurses—supported the rule.  

In July 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed to repeal the rule in a move that Environment Washington’s John Rumpler said, defied “sound science, common sense and the will of the American people.”

We can block the repeal of this vital clean water protection. But it’s going to take a three-part bankshot to win.

  • First, we’ll urge the public to show their support for the Clean Water Rule during EPA public comment periods.
  • Next, if EPA ignores the public support for clean water, we’ll challenge the rollback of the rule in court.
  • Third, some in Congress are moving to make it impossible to defend the clean water rule in court. We need just a few more votes in the Senate to stop them.
Stay up to date on the latest rollbacks

We’re keeping an eye out for other attempts to turn back the clock on clean water protection. To keep informed, sign up for our email, follow us on Facebook, or connect with us on Twitter.