American Whitewater Urges EPA to Protect Clean Water

posted June 29, 2017
by Evan Stafford

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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. 


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