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FACT CHECK: Huffington Post Claims Water Rule Protects 117 Million People’s Drinking Water

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The Huffington Post claimed Wednesday the EPA will “dismantle [a] rule that protects drinking water for 117 million.”

Verdict: False

The rule in question, known as the Clean Water Rule or the Waters of the United States rule, is not in effect and is therefore not protecting drinking water for anyone.

Fact Check:

The Huffington Post claims the unimplemented rule “protects drinking water for 117 million” both in the headline and the body of the story. “It ultimately protected the drinking water of more than 117 million Americans,” the article states. The second claim includes “protected,” which could refer to the two months that the rule was in effect in 36 states. However, the title clearly states that the rule currently protects 117 million people’s drinking water and there is no mention in the article that the rule is not currently in effect.

The Clean Water Rule was published in the Federal Register late June 2015 with plans to implement the rule set for late August of that year. Hours before the rule was going to be put into effect a federal judge blocked the rule for 13 states that sued. In early October 2015, a federal court ruled that the Clean Water Rule was also unenforceable for the remainder of the states. The Clean Water Rule has been in court ever since and has now reached the Supreme Court.

The Huffington Post story came as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Army Corps of Engineers released a plan to begin repealing the Clean Water Rule. The plan follows an executive order from President Donald Trump in February to dismantle the rule.

The article also does not back up or explain the 117 million figure. Federal and state water-related laws and codes already regulate American drinking water. It’s unclear where that number comes from, but regardless the rule is not protecting 117 million people’s water since it’s not currently in place.

The Obama rule is not effecting the drinking water of a single individual. Huffington Post’s claim is false.

The Huffington Post did not respond to a request for comment.

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