Washington, D.C. — American Indian and Alaska Native federally recognized Tribes and environmental groups, represented by Earthjustice, sued the Trump administration over its attempt to weaken clean water protections. The rule changes proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency would force states and Tribes to accept damaging and unwanted pipelines and other fossil fuel projects on their lands. The EPA reverses its long-standing interpretation of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act in a move that is contrary to the language, purpose, and intent of the statute.
Clean Water Act
By Mary C. Serreze for Mass Live. Fossil fuel foes are claiming victory after a federal appeals court on Friday upheld New York's move to block a federally permitted interstate natural gas pipeline that failed to meet state water quality standards. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation acted properly in 2016 when it denied Constitution Pipeline a Section 401 certificate under the U.S. Clean Water Act, effectively vetoing the project, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The judicial review "carries nationwide implications, as it will invariably influence states' decisions to block pipelines under the Clean Water Act across the country," said the Natural Resources Defense Council in a statement. "This victory is an important reminder to all states that they have the power to stop harmful pipeline projects," asserted the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance. In its 27-page decision, the Second Circuit said Congress intended the states to "retain the power to block, for environmental reasons, local water projects that might otherwise win federal approval."