WASHINGTON (March 25, 2014)--The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today proposed rules to restore Clean Water Act protections to streams and wetlands whose status had been thrown into question by court rulings and Bush administration actions. Following public comment, these rules will ensure that protections against pollution will apply to many waters, including streams that feed into drinking water systems serving 117 million Americans.
Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, made the following statement:
“This is good news for boaters, anglers, swimmers and families who rely on clean drinking water. EPA took an important step to finally rescue these waters from legal limbo. Even though these are common-sense protections, the polluters are sure to attack them. People who care about clean water need to make their voices heard in the comment period.”
For decades, the Clean Water Act of 1972 protected seasonal and small streams and wetlands from unregulated pollution and destruction. The science is clear that headwater streams provide flow and the materials to downstream waters that are essential to sustaining healthy fish populations. Wetlands filter pollution; capture and store flood water; and recharge underground water supplies that farmers, businesses and drinking water suppliers rely on. Supreme Court decisions in the last decade and policy choices by the George W. Bush administration effectively removed these protections for many waters and cast doubt on protections for countless others. This rule would restore these safeguards for thousands of water bodies.
For background on this issue see: http://www.nrdc.org/water/assaultonwater.asp