Act Now to Protect the Clean Water Rule
With much fanfare, the Trump administration announced in July that it is proposing to rescind EPA's Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. The infographic to the left shows what this rule was meant to do, clarifying and making consistent application of Clean Water Act protections for water. At a time when nutrient runoff and other water pollution is jeopardizing the health of our rivers, now is not the time to move backward on the Clean Water Rule.
Now is the time to tell the US EPA and Army Corps of Engineers that you OPPOSE going back on protections for wetlands and small streams under the Clean Water Act! The agencies propose to rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule and to re-codify the prior regulatory text that defined the "waters of the United States." A docket is open for public comments on the proposed rule changes.
Go to regulations.gov to submit your comments. The Docket ID No. is EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203.
Your own words are best. We suggest covering the following points:
The docket is open until August 28, 2017, with an extension to September 27. THANK YOU for standing up for cleaner water!
LWVUS approved this request for action for LWV Lake Michigan; LWV Upper Mississippi River Region is forwarding it to our members as well.
On May 27, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) jointly announced a final rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The rule revises regulations that have been in place for more than 25 years. Revisions are being made in light of 2001 and 2006 Supreme Court rulings that interpreted the regulatory scope of the CWA more narrowly than the agencies and lower courts were then doing, and created uncertainty about the appropriate scope of waters protected under the CWA.
According to the agencies, the new rule revises the existing administrative definition of “waters of the United States” consistent with the CWA, legal rulings, the agencies’ expertise and experience, and science concerning the interconnectedness of tributaries, wetlands, and other waters and effects of these connections on the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of downstream waters. Waters that are “jurisdictional” are subject to the multiple regulatory requirements of the CWA. Non-jurisdictional waters are not subject to those requirements.
The League of Women Voters worked to help pass the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972 and has continued working to see it strengthened in the decades since. Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 (the SWANCC and Rapanos decisions) created uncertainty about whether certain waters were covered by the CWA, thwarting regulators' ability to protect those waters. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drafted a rule to better define the "Waters of the United States," that are subject to the CWA regulations. The rule provides clarity and went into effect in August, 2015.
Subsequently, several lawsuits objecting to the rule were filed by states. The Sixth Circuit Court put a stay on enforcement of the regulation while other lawsuits continue. The standards in the rule have not yet been applied.
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