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Midwestern Governors Oppose Trump's Water Quality Order
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/18/2019

Governors from five Midwestern states, including Wisconsin, are expressing their opposition to President Trump's recent executive order on water quality certifications. In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the state leaders said it was their duty to safeguard the Great Lakes and other waters within their boundaries. They feel the president's order disregards mounting environmental concerns to the public.

"We strongly oppose any attempt by this administration to undermine state authority and ability to enforce water quality standards," the letter said. "We remain committed to do what is necessary to protect sources of drinking water, public health and our environment. The residents of our states deserve to have this critical work continue unimpeded."

The White House says the executive order aims to hinder states from blocking oil and natural-gas pipelines by potentially stripping away their authority to reject projects that impair water quality. Specifically, the move could limit the ability of states to use the federal Clean Water Act to refuse to certify energy projects that officials believe could endanger their waterways or fail to meet surface-water quality standards.

The governors claim in their memo that the Clean Water Act is the primary federal law that governs water quality.

"By passing the CWA and subsequent amendments, Congress recognized states as a separate authority over the protection and administration of water resources," they wrote.

The letter was signed by Gov. Tony Evers, along with Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Tim Walz of Minnesota, and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois.

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