Environmental and Conservation Groups: Reject SB 1140

Alliance for the Great Lakes · American Canoe Association · American Rivers · BlueGreen Alliance · Bluestem Communications · California River Watch · Central Ohio Watershed Council · Clean Water Action · Clean Up the River Environment · Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation · Defenders of Wildlife · Earthjustice · Endangered Habitats League · Environment America · Florida Wildlife Federation · GreenLatinos · Greenpeace · Gulf Restoration Network · Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited · Kentucky Waterways Alliance · Lake Champlain International ·League of Conservation Voters · Massachusetts Rivers Alliance · National Parks Conservation Association · Natural Resources Defense Council · Nature Coast Conservation · New Jersey Audubon Society · Northwest Environmental Advocates · Ohio Environmental Council · Ohio River Foundation · Prairie Rivers Network · River Network · Roots & Shoots, University of Tampa · Sierra Club · Southern Environmental Law Center · Surfrider Foundation October 29, 2015 Download the letter here Dear Senator: The undersigned organizations, and our millions of members and supporters, oppose S. 1140, the so-called “Federal Water Quality Protection Act.” Contrary to its title, this legislation attacks clean water protections. In fact, this legislation would prevent implementation of a recently finalized rulemaking to clarify and restore Clean Water Act protections for countless water bodies, including streams that contribute to the drinking water of one in three Americans. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency have completed their Clean Water Rule, but S. 1140 would prevent this important, scientifically rigorous rule from being implemented. The agencies undertook a very transparent and thorough process in developing the Clean Water Rule, holding more than 400...

A Dirty Dozen: Twelve Reasons to Reject New Anti-Clean Water Legislation

By Jon Devine, Senior Attorney – NRDC This was originally posted 0n Switchboard Recently, a number of Senators, led by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), introduced a bill to kill the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Rule, a commonsense initiative to restore protections against pollution that once existed for a variety of small, seasonal, and rain-dependent water bodies, but that have been eroded by policies implemented in the past decade or so. This post analyzes the new bill, misleadingly titled the “Federal Water Quality Protection Act.” If you agree that the legislation is dangerous and that the Clean Water Rule should be allowed to move forward, please let your Senator know. (You can access a list of Senators and contact information from this link.) The Bill Relies on False Premises. For starters, the new bill is based on assumptions that are simply inaccurate. False Premise One: The bill’s sponsors claim that it is a necessary action to address inadequate consultation by the agencies in developing the Clean Water Rule. That’s hogwash. The agencies had more than 400 meetings with stakeholders that care about what water bodies the law can protect. The list of folks with whom EPA headquarters staff met with is lengthy and inclusive, as is as the list of people consulted by EPA regional offices. More than a million comments flooded into the agencies, some 87 percent of which supported the rule. Moreover, this rulemaking process is the latest chapter in more than a decade of public debate about the proper scope of the rule; in short, the issue has been fully vetted....

Showing Support for the Clean Water Rule

Voices from all across the United States are standing up for the protection of clean water. Read what these residents of Maine, Montana, and Wisconsin have to say this week about the importance of clean and safe water in their lives.   Maine Voices: Clean Water is lifeline to livelihood – Portland Press Herald, 10/25 “Maine’s economy has become increasingly tied to millions of outdoor recreation and ecotourism dollars. Economists estimate that for every dollar spent on tourism, a minimum of $3, to as much as $10, is multiplied through Maine’s economy. If this is to be sustained, the Maine Wilderness Guides Organization believes that substantial effort must be made to preserve and protect our natural resources, especially our streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands.”   Clean Water Rule: Protect, preserve state’s resources – The Missoulian, 10/23 “When I made the decision to move from a large city in Texas to a small city in Montana, the question I heard most frequently was, ‘Why Montana’? The answer is simple; I chose Montana for its rugged, wild geography and its abundant access to some of our nation’s most stunning natural resources. Montana is a place where I can find solitude and personal growth exploring our mountains, trails, rivers and streams. For us Montanans to continue to utilize and preserve these beautiful places we cherish and love, there are certain measures we must take to ensure their protection. One of our most valued natural resources that is currently in desperate need of our attention and support, is the preservation of our state’s streams and waterways.”   Keep Wisconsin River protected from polluters – Wausau Daily Herald,...

Implementation of the Clean Water Rule Has Come to a Halt

The Clean Water Rule which was promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers is not being implemented. The Clean Water Rule protects our precious streams, rivers, and wetlands across the United States that we rely on for drinking water, recreation, and our economy. Unfortunately, on October 9, 2015 the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio issued a temporary stay of the Clean Water Rule while litigation there is ongoing. What Happened in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals? The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is tasked with issuing a decision on the Clean Water Rule’s validity. The petitioners are the states of Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin. These eighteen states are seeking to have the Clean Water Rule invalidated by the court. As part of their case they petitioned the court to stay the Clean Water Rule pending the completion of the court’s review of their case. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense (which houses the Army Corps of Engineers) opposed the stay as did several conservation groups as well as the pro- Clean Water Rule states of New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Unfortunately, the Sixth Circuit Court granted the petitioners’ stay. There are two parts to the decision the Sixth Circuit must make. First, the Court must decide if they have subject matter jurisdiction over the case (meaning if they even have the authority to hear the case before them). Second, the Court must...

The Clean Water Act Can’t Work Without You

By Jennifer Peters, Clean Water Action Water Programs Director – On Twitter: @EarthAvenger This was originally published on We All Live Downstream This month marked 43 years since the landmark Clean Water Act became law. Yet, while many of our nation’s rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and bays are cleaner because of it, we still face water pollution challenges. Not because of lack of technology or innovation, but because of powerful polluting industries that have the ear of politicians – big oil, big ag, and big developers (just to name a few). Because of this constant political pressure to weaken critical protections for our water resources, paired with limited and often dwindling state and federal resources, enforcement of the Clean Water Act is largely driven by everyday people concerned about their communities. The Clean Water Act (CWA) is about democracy as much as it is about stopping water pollution. Public involvement in how the CWA is applied and enforced in the real world is vital to address water pollution problems. Congress recognized this importance by including explicit provisions for public involvement in the language of the CWA. Public empowerment is in the Clean Water Act’s DNA. These provisions provide a framework for public involvement in nearly every aspect of the law – from establishing pollution limits, to permitting requirements for development projects to setting water quality goals for specific water bodies. Citizens also have the right to sue polluters who violate the law or to sue government agencies for not enforcing the law as Congress intended. Because of these citizen lawsuits, the Clean Water Act’s pollution programs are constantly evolving....