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Speak Up Again for Clean Water

Posted: 12/11/2017
by Megan Hooker

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers are expanding efforts to repeal a 2015 rule that clarified Clean Water Act protections for our nation's headwater streams and wetlands (the “2015 Clean Water Rule”). The agencies are receiving comment through Wednesday, December 13th on a proposal that would delay implementation of the Clean Water Rule. If successful, the current effort will make it easier for the agencies to repeal and replace the Rule.

Specifically, the agencies are proposing to amend the 2015 Clean Water Rule by retroactively adding an “applicability date.” This date would be set for two years from the time the proposed amendment is approved. The Clean Water Rule went into effect on August 28th, 2015, and as a result of legal challenges, has been on hold since October 2015.

American Whitewater supported the 2015 Clean Water Rule, and continues to speak up in its defense. The Rule is important because, after years of ambiguity, it brought clarity to whether the Clean Water Act applied to headwater streams and hydrologically connected wetlands. The agencies underwent a thorough scientific review when they developed the Rule, and it clearly showed what paddlers know and experience first-hand–when it rains, pollution in wetlands and creek beds that run dry ends up downstream.

If the goal is protect downstream states, people, drinking water, fish and property rights, then the Clean Water Act needs to apply to headwater streams and hydrologically connected wetlands. These protections are important for the economy too, because healthy rivers attract and inspire new businesses, revitalize communities, and create boons to public health, fitness, and happiness.

This is the third opportunity to comment on a proposal related to the Clean Water Rule since September, (see AW's articles about the other two here and here), and relates to the agencies’ overall effort to repeal and replace the Rule. It’s important that we continue to speak up.


American Whitewater opposes the proposal to delay implementation of the Clean Water Rule, as well as efforts to repeal and replace it. You can read our comments here. Our nation’s headwater streams and wetlands–and all that depend on them for drinking water, recreation, habitat and economic livelihood–deserve protection as soon as possible. 

We encourage you to comment on the proposal too. You can share your thoughts with the EPA and Army Corps here by Wednesday, December 13th. To learn more about the agencies' process, click here.

Stay tuned to American Whitewater for Clean Water Act information, including opportunities to speak up in support of clean water.


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