Sep 12, 2019
Washington, D.C. --- In response to the release of the Trump Administration’s final rule repealing the Clean Water Rule, eight organizations representing and serving Latinx communities across the nation stand together in rejecting this change, which is just one in a long line of proposals which weaken the regulatory protections currently in place that safeguard our water, health, and livelihoods.
The Clean Water Act was enacted to provide every American, without exception, with fishable and swimmable waters. While our waterways have come a long way since passage of the Clean Water Act, millions of Americans and a disproportionately high number of Latinx communities are still regularly threatened by water pollution. The Clean Water Rule, implemented in 2015, was an important step in the right direction, helping ensure that all communities would be included in the ultimate goal of the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Rule, supported by over one million public comments, strengthened safeguards against water pollution from industry, and other polluters. The Trump Administration’s decision to dismantle it is placing the interests of polluting industries above American families, and will place the water of millions of latinx community members at risk.
GreenLatinos President & CEO, Mark Magaña issues the following statement:
“Over one million comments were submitted supporting the Clean Water Rule in 2015, including many from latinx community members across the country. Latinx, African-American, and Indigenous Americans are more likely to be at risk because of their proximity to polluted rivers, streams and lakes, and these communities understand that the Clean Water Rule was a step in the right direction: toward more a more thorough, scientifically-backed approach to ensuring that EPA puts people over polluters, and toward cleaner water for all Americans.
GreenLatinos rejects the sabotage by the Trump Administration and Administrator Wheeler as they disregard the overwhelming support for increasing efforts to protect our water quality while, choosing instead to threaten the health of Latinx communities and all communities across the country.”
Laura M. Esquivel, Director of National Advocacy for Hispanic Federation issues the following statement:
“Today, nearly 45 years after the Clean Water Act was passed, many lakes and rivers are still not safe for swimming or fishing. The Clean Water Rule was designed to clarify federal water protection guidelines and scope, and provide greater protections for groundwater sources and the communities that rely on them. Repealing this rule puts streams and wetlands that recharge groundwater at greater risk for pollution and destruction. The Trump Administration’s decision to repeal the Clean Water Rule will only worsen the quality of water and make low-income communities even more susceptible to severe illness, including cancer and birth defects. Instead of doing more to protect our valuable resources and public health, repealing this rule will give a pass to corporate polluters. This is another example of the EPA throwing out years of science in favor of corporate interests. The big losers today are the environment, public health, and our communities.”
Nature For All Executive Director Belinda Faustinos issues the following statement:
“Communities of color throughout the nation have been victims of environmental pollution, the Clean Water Act is a critical tool we must continue to use to clean our waterways in order to prevent disease from harming our families. We cannot allow this blatant disregard for public health to move forward; ya basta!”
The Rose Foundation issues the following statement:
“Clean water is a human need and a human right. Every day at the Rose Foundation, we talk with community members whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by polluted water and fund organization working to improve water quality for the health of our communities and wildlife. We need to strengthen the Clean Water Act, not weaken it.”
The Praxis Project issues the following statement:
“This proposal endangers people of all backgrounds, but especially communities of color in two ways: it removes the protections afforded by Clean Water Rule to millions of Americans who care for clean water and public health, and it clears the runway for EPA’s proposed “Dirty Water Rule”. The Clean Water Rule combines modern science and extensive public outreach to create a framework for federal water quality designed to prevent downstream communities from suffering because of polluters upstream of them and because of polluters in neighboring states. Doing away with this rule is a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who organized and made their voices heard by commenting in support of the Clean Water Rule and in opposition to the proposed Dirty Water Rule.”
Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project issues the following statement:
“Everyone in this country should be entitled to clean water, regardless of their income or where they live. In southern New Mexico, we understand the volatility of water availability and the fragility of clean water in a changing desert ecosystem. We must protect our clean water at all costs. The Clean Water Rule, which this Administration is recklessly and irresponsibly trying to repeal, is based on science that reflects what we already know, that our water sources are interconnected and must be protected. This rule repealing the clean water safeguards is a step back for southern New Mexico communities and the future of our families and children. We stand with other communities in the country against polluting industries and strongly oppose the gutting of the Clean Water Rule.”
Protégete issues the following statement:
“Protégete stands with frontline communities in Colorado and beyond in rejecting the latest attack on the Clean Water Act from Trump’s EPA and corporate polluters. Colorado residents, especially those in frontline communities, care deeply about our public resources and especially our rivers, streams, and wetlands, and repealing the Clean Water Rule removes important, science based protections in favor of giving polluters a free pass. We will continue to organize and make sure people from all walks of life in Colorado understand the threats to our water resources”
Dr. Elena Rios, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, issues the following comments:
“Repealing the Clean Water Rule is a surefire way to leave communities across the country with less protections on the safety and cleanliness of their local rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands. Ensuring that our water is safe for our families to swim, fish, and recreate is one of the central goals of the Clean Water Act, and repealing the Clean Water Rule leaves millions with less safe water while clearing the way for the Trump administration’s to codify weaker protections through their “Dirty Water Rule.” The National Hispanic Medical Association stands against this and any other rollbacks ignoring the public health concerns of our communities and our ecosystems.”
Lorette Picciano, Executive Director of The Rural Coalition, issues the following statement:
"As producers, farmworkers, tribal and rural people of the land we see water as our lifeblood and know how it is cared for upstream affects river systems downstream. We don’t want to return to the day when two-thirds of our waterways were too polluted – by mining operations that leaked the arsenic that killed all the fish in the Alamosa River in Colorado; by the coal ash, dumped for years into the Dan River by Duke Energy; or by the tides of phosphorus washed from fertilized farms and feedlots upstream that pollute the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. Our Coalition stands with the hundreds of thousands of Americans and organizations who supported restoring the full protection of the Clean Water Act to the countless miles of tributary and seasonal streams, wetlands and rivers that sustain our communities and against giant corporate agriculture and real estate industry who, with this rule, are sacrificing ecologically valuable wetlands and streams across the nation.”
GreenLatinos is a national network of Latino environmental and conservation advocates committed to addressing national, regional and local environmental, natural resources and conservation issues that significantly affect the health and welfare of the Latino community in the United States. GreenLatinos provides an inclusive table at which its members establish collaborative partnerships and networks to improve the environment; protect and promote conservation of land and other natural resources; amplify the voices of minority, low-income and tribal communities; and train, mentor, and promote the current and future generations of Latino environmentalists.