The Trump administration is attempting to discreetly eliminate Clean Water Act protections for waters across the United States through a proposed rulemaking that would critically endanger historically-protected rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands.
This proposed rulemaking by the United States EPA and Army Corps of Engineers is a massive attack on the Clean Water Act and would fundamentally alter the legal definition of “Waters of the United States.” By drastically reducing the waters that are protected by federal environmental law, it would cause untold damage to clean water for drinking, recreation, and wildlife.
Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has provided any citizen the right to sue polluters to protect our nation’s waterways. This proposal would put every single waterway in the country at risk, effectively giving private industry a green light to pollute our creeks, wetlands, and seas.
Please join us in our fight to prevent the Trump administration from gutting the Clean Water Act by filing a comment opposing this rule.
The most effective comments are personal ones. Please including the reasons why clean water is so important to you and any other concerns you have about this proposed change. See below for a sample comment.
The public comment period will close on April 15, 2019, so please submit a comment TODAY at this link: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149-0003
Thank you for your voice and support!
Suggested Text for Your Public Comment
I Strongly Oppose EPA’s Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States”
I am writing because I am opposed to EPA’s revised definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS), as well as the specific exclusions set forth in the proposed rule. This revised definition attempts to roll back the scope of the Clean Water Act and limit protections for wetlands and waterways that drain into the Salish Sea.
Our waterways and wetlands, and the marine ecosystems these waters drain into, such as our Salish Sea, are invaluable assets to our communities—they provide us with sources of safe and affordable drinking water, as well as recreational areas, jobs, and wildlife habitat.
We should be strengthening protections for clean water; not rolling them back. The Clean Water Act was created in recognition of the fact that water flows downstream. Small creeks and wetlands flow into the sea, as well as into our major rivers and lakes. In order to protect the waters of the United States, as directed by Congress, all waterways must receive the protections of the Clean Water Act. If an individual or corporation is allowed to pollute or destroy a stream, wetland, river, or lake, the impacts will inevitably be systemic.
This proposed rule would remove protections for more than half of our nation’s wetlands. There is strong scientific consensus that wetlands play a vital role in improving the quality of nearby surface and groundwater quality and flood-control as well as providing key habitat for a number of economically important fish and widlife. It would be a huge mistake to remove protections for these precious, invaluable resources.
I strongly oppose the decision to no longer cover “interstate waters” under the Clean Water Act. We all know that pollution doesn’t stay within state boundaries, and the Clean Water Act often provides downstream states with the only meaningful recourse to address pollution from upstream states.
I also oppose the proposed rule’s decision to exclude protections for “ephemeral streams,” as this change would lead to widespread degradation of our waterways and ignore the fact that ephemeral streams are inevitably connected to larger waterways.
For the sake of our communities and ecosystems, the EPA should work to maximize our clean water protections. By effectively gutting the Clean Water Act, this proposed rule clearly violates the EPA’s mandate to protect human health and the environment as well as the Clean Water Act objective “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.”
Because of these reasons, I ask that you not finalize this proposed rule, and instead work to maintain or expand Clean Water Act protections for our waterways, wetlands, and the Salish Sea.
Click here to see a comment letter submitted by Paul Anderson, Friends of the San Juans board member.