Policy update: Waters of the U.S. revisited, and a critical look at critical minerals

Chunks of copper ore mineral rocks in an iron barrel

TU welcomes EPA decision to revisit WOTUS

Trout Unlimited welcomed this week’s announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the “Waters of the United States” rule promulgated by the previous administration is illegal and must be redrawn. In moving to repeal and revise the rule, the EPA is listening to the many states, businesses, and conservation groups, like TU, that are working to reinstate federal Clean Water Act protections for the nation’s waters and wetlands. 

Trout Unlimited opposed the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule because it dropped decades-long protections nationwide for “ephemeral” streams, which flow only after rainfall. The 2020 rule made it easier to pollute and degrade these streams, which provide drinking water, flood protection, outdoor recreation opportunities and fish habitat. 

“These small headwaters constitute more than half the nation’s stream miles, and are the capillaries of the nation’s aquatic systems,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “They provide seasonal habitat for fish and wildlife, and protect water quality downstream. The 2020 rule left streams and fisheries across the country unprotected. We applaud EPA Administrator Regan for taking action to safeguard clean water.”  

Here’s our full press release on the matter.

Key findings released on critical minerals

On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced key findings in the 100-day supply chain review required by an executive order issued in February. The report, Building Resilient Supply Chains, Revitalizing American Manufacturing, and fostering Broad-based Growth, covers a wide range of supply chain issues, including critical minerals. But what do supply chains and critical minerals have to do with trout? 

A lot it turns out.

Critical minerals aren’t only in our fly rods (graphite), reels (aluminum) and flies (tungsten), but minerals like lithium and cobalt are also the building blocks of renewable energy technologies that are essential to help combat climate change. The demand for these minerals is increasing dramatically and where and how these minerals are sourced is something policy makers and conservationists are grappling with to ensure that, like any commodity, extracting these minerals is done thoughtfully and in ways that avoid and minimize impacts to communities, clean water and fish and wildlife habitat. 

Check out our full story on this topic.

By Trout Unlimited Staff.