Date: Wed, 06/18/2014 P9070032.JPG WASHINGTON – During a call with reporters this afternoon, leaders of some of the nation’s most prominent sportsmen’s groups together urged the U.S. Senate not to derail a clean water rule that would restore longstanding Clean Water Act protections to some of the nation’s most important waters and wetlands. The Izaak Walton League of America, National Wildlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Trout Unlimited strongly criticized a potential Senate rider that would undermine the rule, ahead of Thursday’s markup of the fiscal year 2015 energy and water spending bill in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Sportsmen’s groups have consistently advocated for the rulemaking and the importance of waters and wetlands to fish, wildlife and public recreational opportunities. Listen to a recording of today’s teleconference. Responses to the Senate rider focused on the need to conserve these resources, which in addition to encompassing critical habitat provide drinking water to more than 117 million Americans: Chris Wood, CEO of Trout Unlimited:“Instead of inappropriately using a funding bill to derail clean water rules, critics should participate in the public process to make the rules better. Nobody wants to regulate a farmer’s ditch or farm pond. We only want to restore the application of the Clean Water Act to waters that were protected for the first 30 years of the Clean Water Act's existence.” Scott Kovarovics, Executive Director of the Izaak Walton League of America:“Nothing could be more counterproductive than short-circuiting the public process now underway to restore Clean Water Act protections to streams and wetlands. Prohibiting the Army Corps and EPA from moving forward with a commonsense solution won’t protect drinking water or wildlife habitat. Blocking action only locks in the confusing, uncertain and damaging status quo.” Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership:“Sportsmen have made their position loud and clear. The wetlands and headwaters streams that hunters and anglers rely upon are at risk. Congress should not step in to derail this vital rulemaking process, especially while the proposed rule is in the middle of the public comment phase.” Adam Kolton, Executive Director, National Advocacy Center, National Wildlife Federation:“We know that protecting rivers, streams and wetlands is as important to hunters and anglers as gun rights. A vote against clean water is a vote against America’s sportsmen and -women – and it’s a vote against the billions in economic activity they generate."