Press Release

Scientific Review Supports New Clean Water Protections

WASHINGTON (January 15, 2015)— A new scientific report showing that small streams and wetlands can affect downstream water quality and help supply drinking water to millions of Americans is further evidence that these water bodies need protection from pollution, the Natural Resources Defense Council said today. The long-awaited study released today by the Environmental Protection Agency provides the scientific underpinning for the proposed Clean Water Protection Rule due to be finalized by the agency this spring.

Jon Devine, a senior attorney in NRDC’s Water Program, made the following statement:

“The science confirms what common sense tells us: Small and seasonal waters significantly influence the condition of water bodies downstream.  This new report should wash away any doubt that EPA’s clean water rule proposal is based on sound science. The Clean Water Rule is a sensible way to restore protections to these waters, which have been in legal limbo for more than a decade.”

EPA released a draft of today’s report, Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters, in September, 2013, for public comment. Today’s final report, which incorporates detailed input from a peer review by the independent Science Advisory Board, will be used as the basis for finalizing EPA’s Clean Water Protection Rule. First proposed last year, the rule will clarify which water bodies are covered by Clean Water Act protections. It will restore clear protection to waters that contribute to the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans. Opponents of the rule have demanded that EPA not act without a final, peer-reviewed report, and this report directly satisfies that demand.

For more information, see Karen Hobbs’ blog: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/khobbs/standing_on_science_to_protect.html

See NRDC’s comments on the draft report here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OA-2013-0582-0629

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