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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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December 11, 2018

Contact: Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Hajna (609) 292-2994


(18/P104) TRENTON – A Trump Administration proposal to severely limit the number of wetlands and waterways protected by the federal Clean Water Act would penalize states that prioritize clean water and public health, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced today.

“The Trump administration’s proposal to roll back federal rules on clean water abandons our moral obligation to protect the environment for our children and grandchildren. It creates a ‘race to the bottom,’ encouraging states to loosen their own regulations and penalizing those that truly protect their residents and public health,” Commissioner McCabe said.

“New Jersey is committed to protecting our water resources,” said Commissioner McCabe. “Water that is clean and safe is a critical natural resource for everything in our state and our country. Instead of creating a jigsaw puzzle of what is protected, we need strong leadership that will serve our communities by safeguarding all the water that flows through them.”

The proposal calls for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to repeal the 2015 rule defining the waters of the United States and revert to a definition from 1986. The key difference is that the 2015 rule provides sufficient protection to wetlands as “waters of the United States.” The 1986 rule does not. With reduced protections in border states such as New York and Pennsylvania, New Jersey could likely experience more flooding and reduced water quality downstream.

Protecting New Jersey’s water is one of DEP’s core priorities under the leadership of Commissioner McCabe, who has an extensive and distinguished background both in administration and environmental law.

Prior to joining the DEP, Commissioner McCabe was EPA’s Deputy Region 2 Administrator and was a longtime member of EPA’s Executive Management Council. She also served as a judge on the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board and as a deputy assistant administrator with EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. Commissioner McCabe also served 22 years with the U.S. Department of Justice before joining the EPA.



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Last Updated: December 11, 2018