Support Proposed Ruling to Strengthen Clean Water Act!
 


Anacostia River.

Yesterday marked the official start of a 90-day public comment period for a proposed rule on the Clean Water Act (CWA) published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps). This proposal more clearly defines which waters are protected under the CWA closing some loopholes in the law for wetlands and streams. For the Anacostia River watershed, this could mean that there would be no doubt that the wetlands and seasonal streams that support the river are protected under the law ensuring smart land use and development near those areas.

Over the past few decades there has been much controversy (e.g., Supreme Court cases Rapanos v. US, 2006; Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. US, 2001) regarding how the CWA is applied because certain parts of the current law are too vague. Once finalized, the new rule will resolve those types of uncertainties for waters that millions of Americans depend on for drinking water, food, recreation, etc.

Opponents of this proposed rule (or any action like it) have gone on record for years making claims that simply are not true and have been preventing this much needed clarification on protected waters for far too long. Help us spread the word about what the facts are.

  • The proposed rule:
    • DOES NOT extend protection to types of waters not historically covered under the Clean Water Act (including, but not limited to, groundwater, tile drainage systems, and increased coverage for ditches), but rather more accurately defines the extent of federal regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act thereby increasing efficiency in the application of the CWA, saving time and money
    • Keeps current and even expands exemptions for conservation practices associated with agricultural activities (CWA dredge and fill permits will not be required for 56 conservation practices that protect or improve water quality)

Water is a crucial resource that we need to stop taking for granted and carelessly polluting. Roughly 33% of U.S. rivers, coastal waters, and lakes are still not safe for swimming and fishing; while that percentage was twice as much before passage of the Clean Water Act 42 years ago, all waters should be safe. This proposal is a major next step for clean water so let’s get behind it and let the law work. Whether you have scientific evidence related to water connectivity to headwaters or simply want clean water, the EPA wants to hear from you!

Please submit comments to them by July 21, 2014 (directing your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880) in one of the following ways:

  • Online: http://www.regulations.gov
  • Email: ow-docket@epa.gov
  • Mail: Send original and three copies of your comments to
    Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T
    1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460
    Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880

Click here to see the full list of ways to submit comments and for further instructions.

More information about the rule can be found here on EPA’s website: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/CWAwaters.cfm

Also keep on the lookout for action alerts like this one from Environment America and stay tuned to our blog, Twitter and Facebook pages for updates as we gather more information and delve deeper into the details of this proposed rule.

Comments

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