The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) last week restored federal protections for critical wetlands and small streams, formally repealing a federal rule the EPA said did not adequately protect the health of U.S. waterways.
The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule defines Clean Water Act jurisdiction for America’s streams, lakes, rivers, and wetlands. The now-repealed version of the rule enacted by the previous administration narrowed the scope for what kinds of waterways were protected under the act, endangering the health of watersheds across the country.
The following is a statement by Kameran Onley, Managing Director of North American Policy and Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy:
“The new Waters of the United States rule is a victory for America’s waterways and its many users. With this action, our lakes, rivers, and streams will once again be protected from pollution and other threats. These aquatic spaces are the country’s lifeblood, irreplaceable resources fundamental to clean drinking water, commerce, transportation, wildlife habitats, and so much more. With climate change and biodiversity loss threatening our future, protecting our water systems’ health has never been more important.
“The passage of the Clean Water Act a half-century ago was a recognition of the value of our waters and a commitment to improve and maintain their health. The most effective and beneficial approach to implementing the act is one based on science and respectful of the different uses of our waterways. The rule finalized last week recommits the country to that approach. We’re grateful to the EPA and the Corps for restoring strong and effective water quality protections.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.