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Defend the Clean Water Act

Delivery to EPA Administrator Michael Regan

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What’s At Stake

This fall, the Supreme Court is poised to continue its record of undermining decades of progress and legal precedents that safeguard our environment and fundamental rights. After undercutting the Clean Air Act in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, it is turning its attention to the Clean Water Act. Earlier this year, the Court quietly nullified an Earthjustice victory against a Trump administration rule that threatens our water quality. More recently, the Court heard Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, a case that may end up gutting the Clean Water Act. In light of this, we need your help to push the EPA to proactively defend clean water.

The Sacketts and their industry allies have waged a long-running campaign to undermine the Clean Water Act after the Sacketts illegally filled in a wetland on their property that was subject to the Act’s protections. The new conservative supermajority of the Supreme Court decided to take up their case, which puts the Clean Water Act in the worst danger it has seen in the 50 years since it became law.

With the future of clean water on the line, we need the Environmental Protection Agency to do everything in its power to keep our water clean and our communities healthy. Tell EPA Administrator Regan to accelerate the agency’s regulatory work to protect our water.

As this case is being heard, megadroughts are wreaking havoc in the Western United States, communities in the South are grappling with unprecedented flooding, and residents of multiple cities, like Jackson and Flint, are simply unable to drink their water. Yet, the Sacketts, their lawyers, and allies continue to insist that private landowners should be able to act with impunity, no matter the impact of their actions. This mentality runs in the face of morality and science — our actions as individuals always affect others, just as polluting an upstream water source harms everyone downstream.

Problems that impact all of us require comprehensive laws that protect everyone. The Clean Water Act — one of the most successful environmental statutes in our history — is one of those laws. Undermining it will harm us all for the benefit of a few. Join us in telling Administrator Regan to channel his agency’s resources to defend clean water.

Everglades National Park is one of America’s great places. The vast South Florida marsh is the largest continuous stand of sawgrass prairie left in North America and is the continent’s most significant tropical bird breeding ground.
Brian Lasenby / Shutterstock

Everglades National Park is one of America’s great places. The vast South Florida marsh is the largest continuous stand of sawgrass prairie left in North America and is the continent’s most significant tropical bird breeding ground.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.