Sens. Tom Carper, D-Delaware; Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois; and Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, led 13 other senators in sending a letter April 15 to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army Civil Works R.D. James urging them to reverse course on the dangerous Dirty Water Rule proposal to gut the Barack Obama-era regulations to protect the Waters of the United States.

Also known as the Clean Water Rule, the Obama initiative protected the rivers, streams and wetlands that fed into the drinking water supplies of one in three Americans. The letter displays the careless and haphazard manner in which EPA and USACE constructed this proposal and explains how proceeding with this rulemaking would damage public health and strike at the heart of the Clean Water Act.

Duckworth serves as the top Democrat on EPW’s Fisheries, Water and Wildlife Subcommittee; and Cardin is the top Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.

“Eliminating protections for ephemeral streams and most wetlands abandons the significant nexus jurisdictional standard and undermines the goals of the Clean Water Act,” the senators wrote. “Furthermore, the rule’s novel and ambiguous definitions inject uncertainty by requiring regulators, landowners, and other stakeholders to conduct long-term monitoring programs in order to distinguish between streams that flow intermittently or ephemerally.”

“In response to questions for the record following EPA Administrator Wheeler’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, EPA and the USACE demonstrated they do not possess even remotely reliable estimates of the number and extent of waters that would be affected by this proposed rule...At best, the agencies have been careless in proposing this rule. At worst, they have failed to meet their duties to inform the public, uphold the law, and protect the public and the environment,” the senators continued.

The full text of the letter can be found at