(June 27, 2017) WASHINGTON D.C. The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it would begin the process of repealing and replacing the Clean Water Rule in accordance with an executive order signed by President Trump in February.
The Clean Water Rule of 2015, which was a critical step in protecting headwaters streams and wetlands across the country, was the result of a multi-year process which utilized the best available science and drew more than one million comments before being finalized. In contrast, the repeal allows only a 30 day comment period and the “replace” step will likely reduce protections on thousands of miles of streams.
Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited, issued the following statement in response to the announcement:
“Today, the EPA published a proposed rule that begins the process of unraveling the protections of the Clean Water Act for small headwater streams. This Rule would have provided protection to streams, rivers and wetlands, including 60 percent of the stream miles in the U.S. that flow seasonally. It is important to note that these waters were protected for the first 30 years of the Clean Water Act.
Removing protections from these streams is harmful not only to anglers, but also to the one in three Americans whose drinking water comes from small seasonal streams.
Clean water is not a political issue. It is a basic right of every American. Water runs downhill, gravity works cheap, and it never takes a day off. We all live downstream. To be effective, the Clean Water Act must be able to control pollution at its source, upstream in the headwaters and wetlands that flow down through communities to our major lakes, rivers, and bays. The EPAs action places the health of our streams and rivers at significant and unacceptable risk.
This is a fast moving train. Todays proposal to rescind and weaken the Clean Water Rule has a mere 30 day comment period. TUs members and its allies will use each one of those days to respond vigorously to oppose the rescission and to urge EPA to reconsider the path it is on.
That path includes a second, ill-conceived step. EPA has said that as it re-writes this rule it will consider relying on a minority Supreme Court opinion that would dramatically diminish the number of streams and wetlands protected by the Clean Water Act. If this direction is followed, 60 percent of U.S. streams and 20 million acres of wetlands would lose protection of the Clean Water Act creating an unmitigated disaster for fish and wildlife, hunting and fishing, and one of our most basic rights, clean water.
Legally, scientifically, and logically a reliance on the Supreme Court minority opinion is wrong-headed. But theres still time, working through the new rulemaking process, to make it right. When EPA replaces the Clean Water Rule, it must listen to the voices of tens of millions of sportsmen and women who want more clean water, more fish and wildlife habitat, and more hunting and angling opportunities.
Trout Unlimited intends to work with our hundreds of thousands of members and supporters to reverse course on this misguided direction.”
For more information, go to standup.tu.org and click on “clean water.”
Password: Clean Water