Since its adoption 40 years ago, the Clean Water Act has made incredible inroads in protecting and improving our nation’s water quality. However, after a series of complex Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006, regulatory confusion led to dischargers being able to pollute or even destroy some streams and wetlands without consequences. Because of a loophole, many wetlands and small streams throughout the country have been vulnerable to being buried and destroyed.
Streams and wetlands recharge groundwater supplies, handle floodwaters, remove pollution, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife. Roughly 60% of U.S. stream miles only flow seasonally or after rain, but these waterways provide a critical function and support beneficial uses.
This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands. This act would protect millions of miles of threatened streams and millions of wetland acres.
Our colleagues at the Natural Resources Defense Council have been advocating for this clarification for many years. Please take a moment to send your support of this important proposal through the NRDC’s action alert.