WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Bay Area Representatives Jared Huffman (CA-02), John Garamendi (CA-03), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), and Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) sent a letter urging the Biden Administration to withdraw the Trump Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) appeal of the district court’s decision in San Francisco Baykeeper et al v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that directed the EPA to make a new determination of jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act for the Redwood City Salt Ponds.
“The Trump Administration hijacked the jurisdictional determination process, putting politics ahead of science and the law to encourage a private landowner’s development of these wetlands. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler waived Clean Water Act jurisdiction of the site in 2019, leaving the wetlands without that federal protection,” the Members wrote. “The Trump Administration’s actions threaten the health and stability of our ecosystems and water resources. We urge you to uphold federal environmental laws and protect clean water and wetlands by withdrawing the appeal and implementing the court’s order to conduct a legally sound jurisdictional determination.”
In 2016, the EPA conducted a site investigation and legal review of the Redwood City Salt Ponds and concluded that the majority of the ponds constitute jurisdictional wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Upon taking office, the Trump Administration reversed course in an effort to allow private development of the salt ponds. The State of California and four environmental organizations subsequently filed suit, and in October, the Federal District Court determined that EPA headquarters misapplied the law and ignored its own agency regulations and Supreme Court decisions. The Trump Administration filed an appeal in December.
A copy of the letter can be viewed here.