Action Alert:Please Sign the Petition in Support of the Clean Water Justice Act

CLEAN WATER
JUSTICE ACT
Sponsors: Sen. Malcolm Augustine
& Del. Sara Love
SB653/HB1101

Why we need the Bill.
The Clean Water Justice Act allows communities harmed by illegal water pollution to enforce the law. This
access to the courts to enforce the law and protect communities from pollution was at the heart of the federal
Clean Water Act (CWA).

Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court greatly cut back this right in the recent decision of Sackett vs. EPA,
where they removed countless streams and wetlands across the country from CWA protection.
Fortunately, Maryland still protects these waterways, and groundwater, but the state has no right for
communities to enforce the law like under the CWA.

Virtually all of the noteworthy water pollution enforcement actions have been brought by community groups,
with the state often then subsequently filing an enforcement action, allowing the community groups to work
alongside the state to enforce the law.

This partnership is something that has brought crucial capacity to the state to enforce the law and utilizes the
community members as the eyes and ears on the water.

These partnerships have been touted by both MDE and the Attorney General’s office as a tremendous success and have improved environmental accountability.But, the Supreme Court’s decision will cut off much of this potential unless we fix it with this bill.

What the Bill does:
Restores a right for impacted community members to enforce the law — but now in state court the
same way that they were previously able to do in federal court. Gives Marylanders the same degree of access to state courts as they have in federal court. Repairs the threat to Maryland’s critical water resources caused by the U.S. Supreme Court.

What the Bill does not do:
Does not create a right of judicial review of final agency actions.
Does not expand standing beyond that provided by federal courts.

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