Washington, D.C. — According to the Sierra Club, President Trump’s executive order to undo the scientifically based Clean Water Rule and create a lengthy process will continue the confusion in what waters are protected by the Clean Water Act. The rule protects millions of acres of wetlands and streams across the country that filter pollutants, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and absorb floodwaters while protecting the drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans, the Sierra Club said.

The Clean Water Rule took years to craft. The Environmental Protection Agency held more than 400 meetings with stakeholders and received more than 1 million public comments, the majority of which were in support of the rule.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

“Today, Donald Trump is sacrificing the right to clean drinking water for more than 117 million Americans just to make corporate polluters richer. After just weeks in office, Trump has made it obvious that he could not care less about protecting the water we drink. First, he signed away safeguards protecting our streams from coal-mining waste and now, he wants to gut a rule that protects the drinking water for more than one in three Americans.

“Trump’s Dirty Water Order is a massive waste of taxpayer resources that will leave wetlands and streams at risk of pollution and destruction. These are the places families swim, fish, play, and enjoy, and when we leave them unprotected, we know from experience that polluters will exploit them. After all, the EPA and the Clean Water Act were created in large part because of the Cuyahoga River disaster, when a river became so polluted it actually caught on fire.

“Trump’s decision today is a path to dirtier water and more toxic disasters. Like we did after the Cuyahoga fire, we will use every avenue available to us to fight back and protect America’s water resources.”