As any kid who grew up near a creek can attest, small streams provide access to adventures, exploration and wildlife; they truly are some of our most treasured—and accessible—places. These smaller streams, creeks and wetlands are important sources of drinking water, help reduce flooding and provide critical support and habitat for fish and wildlife.
In recent years, there has been confusion and controversy over whether smaller streams and certain wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. As a result, some waters have been opened up for industrial dumping, while others have become harder to protect. Without a clear definition of what is protected, 59% of our streams and at least 20% of our wetlands are at risk.
Since 2008, over 400,000 requests were sent by a wide variety of groups (including farmers, state and local officials and members of Congress) asking the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to make the Clean Water Act easier to understand. In response, the EPA and the Army Corps are collaborating with all invested parties to clarify existing law and ensure clean water protections for streams and wetlands, which many consider to be two of our nation’s great natural resources and are scientifically proven to have significant connections to downstream waters. This helps the Mississippi River by protecting the water feeding into it.
We can all help to ensure this important rule
is adopted by showing our support for
Clarifying the Clean Water Act.
The proposed clarification rule will increase government efficiency and make our water cleaner by better defining which rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands the Clean Water Act protects from industrial pollution, oil spills and outright destruction. Special consideration for agricultural concerns is addressed and the new rule will strengthen our nation’s farming community by avoiding economic burden and by bringing certainty and predictability to agriculture.
In 2014, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed clarifying rule and attracted over 800,000 comments of support. The two federal agencies are now working through the federal government’s normal rule-making process to review and incorporate comments into a final rule expected later this spring.
We expect strong opposition to this rule from institutions that use our rivers, streams and wetlands as dumping grounds. Regretfully these polluters have the ear of many members of Congress and are working hard to defeat the rule, even to block completion of the democratic rule-making process. Don’t let them stop this noble effort!