Listen to the #ProtectCleanWater Telepresser

On Wednesday, the Obama Administration released the Clean Water Rule. Several environmental, conservation, and labor leaders were joined by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) to celebrate and discuss the rule. Listen to the discussion here. Thank the President and EPA for releasing the Clean Water Rule...

Release of the Final Clean Water Protection Rule

By William Robert (Bob) Irvin, President and CEO of American Rivers. This was originally published at The River Blog Today, you delivered a victory for rivers. Thanks to supporters like you – including the one million Americans who submitted public comments – the Obama Administration finalized the Clean Water Protection Rule – a vital step toward safeguarding the nation’s clean drinking water. Few things are more fundamental to our health than clean water. No one should have to worry about pollution when they turn on the tap. This administration’s leadership in protecting our streams will benefit millions of Americans and our children and grandchildren. The final Clean Water Protection Rule closes the loopholes that have allowed the drinking water sources of one in three Americans to be at risk for pollution. At a time when severe drought affects the supply of clean water for many communities, it is critically important that we do all we can to preserve and protect the water we have. Clean water is vital to life itself. The Clean Water Protection Rule, written by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, clarifies which waters are, and which waters are not, protected by the Clean Water Act. The final rule has been needed since 2001, when the Supreme Court issued its ruling in SWANCC v. US Army Corps of Engineers. That decision cast a cloud over which waters are subject to federal protection under the Clean Water Act. A subsequent ruling by the Supreme Court in Rapanos v. United States further confounded the scope of the Clean Water Act.  This confusion...

What Congress is Saying About the Clean Water Rule

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) Rep. Napolitano Praises Administration’s Release of Final Clean Water Act Rule (Washington, DC) Today, the Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), praised the public release of the final Clean Water Protection rulemaking by the Obama administration.  This rulemaking fulfils the requests of members of Congress, state and local officials, industry, agriculture, and environmental organizations to clarify the scope of Clean Water Act protections over our nation’s rivers, streams, and wetlands. “We have waited 12 years for clarity.  For 12 long years, our Nation’s streams and rivers have been vulnerable to pollution and degradation, and for 12 years, farmers, industry, and developers have been wasting valuable time and money navigating through the regulatory morass on the Clean Water Act left behind by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Bush administration.  The Obama administration, and especially EPA Administrator McCarthy and Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy, should be commended for their dedication to provide a clear, predicable, and comprehensive way of protecting our Nation’s waters,” said Napolitano. Today’s final rulemaking to define the term “waters of the United States” is the culmination of 12 years of debate, over one year of public comment, and unprecedented outreach by the Obama administration to provide additional clarity and certainty on the scope of waters protected by the Clean Water Act.  During that time, as administration witnesses testified before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the EPA and the Corps of Engineers received over 1,000,000 public comments on the proposed Clean Water Protection rulemaking, and held over 400 public meetings to...

Clean Water Rule Finalized!

By Katherine Baer, Director of Science and Policy, River Network. This post was originally published on River Network’s Science and Policy Blog “So if when a first order stream and a first order stream come together they make a second order stream, what do you get when a second order stream and a second order stream come together?” I heard my scientist-husband ask my daughter. “A fourth order stream,” she responded like any arithmetic-focused kid.But what she did get was how many little first order streams there were around and the adverse impact that it has if you dump pollutants into them or erase them from the landscape altogether. Over 80% of our streams are these small, headwater streams, flowing into our drinking water sources and becoming our mighty rivers. That’s why it’s such great news today that EPA has released the finalized and much anticipated Clean Water Rule (aka the rule formerly known as WOTUS). The rule clarifies what waters are protected under the Clean Water Act and restores protections for many of the two million stream miles that have been at-risk from pollution and destruction ever since a set of Court cases muddied things up. There’s broad support for the clean water rule – over 80% of Americans polled were supportive. In addition to a long public comment period, EPA has listened to communities all around the country, making adjustments to the rule to make it as clear as possible. Fifth graders like my daughter know what the robust science shows – upstream waters (whether it’s a first, second or third order stream or a wetland) and...

Great News For Our Water

By Bob Wendelgass, Clean Water Action President and CEO – Follow Bob on Twitter (@bwendelgass) This post was originally published on We All Live Downstream If you drink water, EPA’s new Clean Water rule is great news. If you fish or canoe or kayak or row or swim, EPA’s new Clean Water rule is great news. If you drink beer or use a computer, EPA’s new Clean Water rule is great news. If you believe in science, EPA’s new Clean Water rule is great news. After ten years, the US Environmental Protection Agency has restored protection under the Clean Water Act to 62% of our stream miles and to 20 million acres of wetlands. These are streams and wetlands that used to be protected from pollution and destruction, but lost that protection about ten years ago. For thirty years, these streams and wetlands were protected; but overnight, they were put at risk. The change wasn’t based on science. The science is clear. Small streams and so-called isolated wetlands are fundamental parts of our overall watersheds. Even small kids understand that small streams are connected to the bigger ones. And thousands of scientific studies have confirmed the out-sized impact these little streams have on water quality and quantity in our overall watershed. These changes weren’t little things either. Overnight, the sources of drinking water for 1 in 3 Americans were put at risk. Overnight, tens of thousands of jobs in outdoor related businesses like fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, boating and swimming were put at risk. Other jobs in fields from clean tech to craft brewing were put at risk as...