March 30, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Program Manager, Climate & Clean Energy Advocacy
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
Senate Vote to Overturn WOTUS is a Direct Attack on Necessary Water Protections
[Washington, D.C.]- Yesterday afternoon the Senate approved a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution against the Biden Administration’s waters of the United States, or WOTUS rule. The WOTUS rule was overturned in a 53-43 vote with Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senators Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) joining Republicans in supporting the measure.
The WOTUS rule established in December 2022 is widely regarded as consistent with Presidential agencies’ long standing approaches to water protections. The CRA resolution, passed by a House vote of 227-198 on March 9th and confirmed by the Senate yesterday, is viewed by water advocates and environmental organizations as a disregard of science and stakeholder input in the interests of major polluting companies. Further rollbacks of water protections will continue to open space for oil and gas companies, mining, and developers to continue projects that will pollute waterways resulting in significant harm to public health- particularly communities where industries are densely located.
In response to the vote Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments Executive Director Katie Huffling issued the following statement: “Clean water is one of the greatest public health advances of the 20th century that unfortunately is not equitably accessed by all. Communities rely on federal protections of our rivers, lakes, and drinking water sources and rollbacks of protections will only further health inequities. The Senate resolution of the CRA on WOTUS is another attempt to place profits over health under the guise of economic expansion. Impeding the ability of federal agencies to safeguard waterways that our families, communities, and economies depend on is an assault on our public health rights.”
Nurses already witness and treat harmful examples of what comes from policies that deregulate our country’s water ecosystem and cater to industrial private interests. The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments are calling for swift action from President Biden that will continue to uphold critical and longstanding protections for drinking water and protect public health in communities across the country.
The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments is the only national nursing organization focused solely on the intersection of health and the environment. The mission of the Alliance is to promote healthy people and healthy environments by educating and leading the nursing profession, advancing research, incorporating evidence-based practice, and influencing policy.