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New Mexico Water Advocates Applaud Biden Administration Repeal of Trump-era Dirty Water Rule

Gila River

Commentary:  Water advocates across New Mexico applaud the Biden Administration’s decision to repeal the Trump Administration’s Dirty Water Rule. The Dirty Water Rule, combined with previous reductions of protections at the federal level in 2001 and 2006, negatively impacts New Mexico more than any state in the nation leaving more than 90% of New Mexico’s waters unprotected by the federal Clean Water Act. 

Amigos Bravos, New Mexico Acequia Association, and Gila Resources Information Project, represented by New Mexico Environmental Law Center joined together last year to appeal the Trump Dirty Water Rule. This appeal will remain active until the rule is formally repealed by the Biden Administration. 

For more information about how the Dirty Water Rule impacts New Mexico, visit “Polluted Future: New Mexico Clean Water Under Threat,” a website and video series created in partnership by Amigos Bravos and CAVU. 

“Decades of environmental racism have left native and land based communities here in New Mexico feeling the impacts of water pollution for too long. The Dirty Water Rule has only exacerbated the disparity. By quickly repealing this harmful rollback of the Clean Water Act, the Biden administration can finally tackle the nation’s clean water crises and ensure that clean water for all is the standard,” said Rachel Conn, projects director of Amigos Bravos.

“The New Mexico Acequia Association is pleased with the announcement by the Biden administration to repeal the Trump rule, which has a disproportionate impact on land-based communities that depend on surface water for irrigation. Acequias, centuries-old irrigation communities, are specifically vulnerable to water pollution on stream systems that lack protection under the Trump rule. The NMAA further appreciates the Biden administration's commitment to crafting a new rule that achieves a balanced approach to agricultural and environmental interests, and we look forward to engaging in a robust stakeholder-informed process,” says Paula Garcia, executive director of the New Mexico Acequia Association.

“Clean water is fundamental to our riparian ecosystems, wildlife and outdoor recreation economy. The Dirty Water Rule threatens our rivers in New Mexico, like the iconic Gila River, by prioritizing some industries over the health of our waterways and those whose livelihoods depend on clean water. By quickly repealing the rule, the Biden administration can support local jobs and ensure the great outdoors remain accessible and protected for generations to come,” stated Allyson Siwik, Executive Director of Gila Resources Information Project. 

“We applaud President Biden for recognizing that we threaten our own future by allowing unchecked dumping into our vital waterways, especially in the arid southwest where our water flows are already impacted by climate change,” said Liliana Castillo, deputy director of CAVU

The Trump rule all but nullified the protections of the Clean Water Act over many streams and wetlands in New Mexico. It reversed nearly fifty years of interpretation of the Clean Water Act by EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the courts. Our clients are suffering under the rule because they rely on clean, unpolluted water for their businesses, irrigation of crops, watering of livestock, and recreation such as fishing, river rafting, and kayaking. We urge the Biden Administration to move quickly to repeal the rule, said Charles de Saillan, staff attorney with New Mexico Environmental Law Center