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Oregon joins lawsuit against Trump administration over Clean Water Act rollback

Oregon's Attorney General joined those from 18 other states in a lawsuit over a rule change that altered the definition of the 'waters of the United States' in the Clean Water Act.

Posted: May 4, 2020 2:36 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon will be part of a lawsuit against the Trump administration over a rule change at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that rolled back some regulations under the Clean Water Act, the state Attorney General's office announced on Monday.

“The EPA just gutted an important policy that impacts the quality of Oregon’s waterways and streams. As Oregonians, we pride ourselves on having some of the clearest and freshest waterways — and drinking water — in the United States," said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. "But with the stroke of a pen, President Trump has taken away important federal protections that help us regulate our own waters. We will keep fighting for clean waterways — for today, and for the generations to come."

Rosenblum joined Attorneys General from 18 other states in the suit, which named the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers as defendants.

The EPA's rollback hinges on a new, more narrow definiton of "waters of the United States" named in the Clean Water Act — removing from protection some streams, wetlands, and other waterways. When the rule change hit in late January, state Representatives Peter DeFazio and Greg Walden struck very different tones on the outcome.

Walden called the Obama-era rules "heavy-handed," saying that the act expanded to cover waterways as small as irrigation ditches. 

"The 2015 Clean Water Rule enacted during the Obama Administration provided much-needed clarity and consistency in federal Clean Water Act protections by specifically including within the scope of protected waters the headwaters of rivers and creeks as well as other non-traditionally navigable waters, which have significant impact on downstream water quality," Rosenblum's office said.

In 2019, Governor Brown championed a bill that adopted the Obama-era Clean Air and Clean Water Act standards for Oregon "even if the federal government rolls the standards back." 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 138168

Reported Deaths: 1880
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah29114464
Washington19279179
Marion16740248
Clackamas12039141
Lane8767113
Jackson716996
Umatilla699273
Deschutes519440
Yamhill329948
Linn321249
Malheur320155
Polk258140
Klamath255046
Josephine184536
Benton182014
Douglas177445
Jefferson173825
Union115117
Wasco111923
Columbia107618
Lincoln103317
Coos100915
Hood River98521
Morrow96610
Clatsop7075
Crook66113
Baker5825
Tillamook3702
Curry3255
Lake2535
Grant2171
Harney1816
Wallowa993
Gilliam531
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

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Cases: 3168528

Reported Deaths: 37121
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Los Angeles107315615262
San Bernardino2644571667
Riverside2585322777
San Diego2271952375
Orange2232882638
Santa Clara980571234
Kern90213590
Fresno852741043
Sacramento834081157
Alameda70334894
Ventura65581507
San Joaquin59395808
Contra Costa54951489
Stanislaus44184788
Tulare42759531
Monterey37285259
San Mateo33731340
San Francisco30308293
Santa Barbara26820265
Solano26494111
Imperial25581493
Merced25048324
Sonoma24935247
Kings19904160
Placer17675188
San Luis Obispo16652151
Madera13858151
Santa Cruz12771130
Marin11954163
Yolo11087138
Shasta9951129
Butte9757134
El Dorado800259
Sutter794383
Napa789347
Lassen526916
San Benito516648
Yuba504929
Tehama446846
Tuolumne344340
Nevada333274
Mendocino327736
Amador304932
Lake267332
Humboldt249425
Glenn201522
Colusa18549
Calaveras169523
Siskiyou148413
Mono11354
Inyo100729
Del Norte8732
Plumas6055
Modoc3903
Mariposa3514
Trinity3054
Sierra880
Alpine730
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