This week the Environmental Protection Agency announced its intention to begin the process of
repealing and replacing the Clean Water Rule of 2015. This is deeply troubling to us at
American Whitewater. We invested considerable capacity in the development of this rule that
reflected the input of the whitewater boating community. The Clean Water Rule clarified
protections for headwater streams where the majority of whitewater recreation takes place.
Healthy headwater areas are not only important for recreation, clean drinking water and healthy
ecosystems, but also for local economies. We cheered the passage of this rule based on years of
scientific study, sound economic arguments and wide public support, and we view withdrawing
this rule as a significant threat to the health of our most cherished waterways and those who
enjoy the recreational opportunities they provide.
Following years of ambiguity about exactly which streams and wetlands are covered under the Clean
Water Act, the Obama Administration implemented the Clean Water Rule based on extensive public
outreach and scientific review. The input of the whitewater paddling community and those who
recreate on our nation's headwater streams was actively solicited and the input of American
Whitewater was considered in the development of the rule.
The Clean Water Rule regulates the discharge of pollution into all streams with a defined bed and
bank (since water flows downstream) as well as certain types of wetlands. American Whitewater
supports the Clean Water Rule and helped defend it from previous challenges. The nation's
preeminent scientists likewise actively support the Clean Water Rule.
As paddlers, we know that pollution dumped in creek beds that occasionally run dry ends up
downstream when it rains. The Clean Water Act must apply to our Nation’s headwaters if the
goal is to protect downstream states, people, fish, and property rights. Paddlers also know that
healthy rivers attract and inspire new businesses, revitalize communities, and create boons to
public health, fitness, and happiness.
The comment period for rescinding the Clean Water Rule will have a mere 30 day comment period.
Stay tuned...we'll let you know when you'll have the opportunity to speak up in defense
of clean water, from our nation's headwaters to the estuaries along our coastlines.