News > News > Water Quality > Amid federal clean water rollbacks, Riverkeeper applauds Gov. Cuomo’s proposed freshwater wetland protections

Amid federal clean water rollbacks, Riverkeeper applauds Gov. Cuomo’s proposed freshwater wetland protections

Riverkeeper responds to the Trump Administration rollback of stream and wetland protections and applauds freshwater wetland protections proposed in Governor Cuomo’s 2020 Executive Budget.

ALBANY, N.Y. — The Trump Administration is expected to finalize the most expansive rollback of the Clean Water Act in history today, erasing decades of protections enacted by both Republican and Democratic presidents. Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo released his 2020 Executive Budget proposal focusing on environmental protection, habitat restoration and clean water defense. Riverkeeper’s Legislative Advocacy Manager, Jeremy Cherson responded to proposed changes in federal clean water act protections and newly proposed freshwater wetland protections included in Governor Cuomo’s 2020 Executive Budget.

“The federal rollback of the Clean Water Act is a betrayal of the public trust. Millions of Americans rely on streams and wetlands for clean drinking water and flood management. This new federal rule leaves a big question mark over what role the federal government plays in protecting vital clean water resources in New York.

“We’re grateful that Governor Cuomo has proposed modernizing New York’s freshwater wetland program. New York has already lost at least 60 percent of its wetlands — well over 1.5 million acres. It is vital we protect the wetlands that remain intact. On average, every acre of wetland can hold over a million gallons of water, making a defense of our existing wetlands a critical element of protecting our communities and wildlife from a changing climate. Governor Cuomo’s proposed changes in the budget would extend protections to tens of thousands of wetlands that currently lack oversight in New York and are threatened by development, pollution and infilling. We also look forward to working with the Legislature to increase state protections for smaller wetlands and streams, particularly in light of the latest federal rollback.”

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