Preserve in Arizona
Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve in Arizona © Brian Prescott

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EPA, Army Corps Action Creates Greater Uncertainty for Clean Water Act Safeguards

Arlington, VA

The Nature Conservancy released the following statement from Vice President for Policy and Government Relations Lynn Scarlett regarding the finalization of a rule re-codifying a previous definition of “Waters of the United States”:

“Streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands are critical to the well-being of people and nature. These resources provide valuable—and often irreplaceable—habitat for fish and wildlife as well as recreational opportunities and drinking water for people. Clean water supports our nation’s economy and is a necessary resource for thriving, healthy communities. All these benefits depend on safeguards embodied in the Clean Water Act.

“The action taken today by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers represents a step backward to a version of the Clean Water Act that was widely viewed as confusing, thus likely resulting in permitting delays. The agencies are creating greater uncertainty for landowners — such as The Nature Conservancy and other regulated entities — that will make it more difficult to reach permit decisions.

“At the same time, the agencies continue to pursue a separate regulation that puts many clean water benefits at risk and ignores the overwhelming scientific evidence showing that small streams and wetlands are critical to the health of our communities and waterways. We urge the administration to return to a science-based implementation of the Clean Water Act as every administration has done since the act’s passage in 1972 and to strongly protect those waters and wetlands that help meet the many needs of our communities, our economy and our nation.”

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 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.