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AG Nessel Opposes Federal Effort to Scale Back Environmental Regulations by Replacing WOTUS Rule

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today issued the following statement on the request for a nationwide stay of enforcement of the Trump administration’s finalized Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR). If implemented, the NWPR will significantly scale back the waters regulated under the Clean Water Act.

While Michigan already has stringent water protections under state statutes, indirect impacts would be substantial as protections in neighboring states would become more lenient, which would lead to downstream pollution that harms Michigan.

“The Clean Water Act's job is to provide a federal floor of water protection, not a basement, and replacing that with less effective regulation is worse for our environment,” Nessel said. “States share water resources with one another and without protective national standards, these shared resources will be subject to the standards of the lowest common denominator. The Trump administration is again ignoring science and failing to protect our environment by arbitrarily removing protections from important water resources because special interest groups are asking for it. A nationwide preliminary injunction is therefore necessary to protect the nation’s waters while Michigan and our fellow plaintiffs pursue a more permanent solution.”

The 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule clarified which bodies of water were subject to federal oversight under the Clean Water Act. Currently scheduled to take effect on June 22, 2020, the final NWPR will complete the Trump administration’s efforts to replace the 2015 WOTUS rule with a less protective rule that results in many wetlands and smaller streams being unregulated. A nationwide preliminary injunction will prevent the implementation of this rule and preserve the status quo while Michigan and its fellow plaintiffs challenge the rule’s validity.

“As Michiganders, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of not only the Great Lakes, but all of our waterways and wetlands. I will continue to challenge this decision,” Nessel added.

Click here to view a copy of the filing.