Proposed Clean Water Act Rule Will Better Protect U.S. Waterways

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   March 25, 2014
Contact:   Alison Zemanski Heis, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, C: 202.384.8762 or aheis@npca.org


Proposed Clean Water Act Rule Will Better Protect U.S. Waterways

Statement by Theresa Pierno, Chief Operating Officer for the National Parks Conservation Association

“Clean water is essential to our health and economy and provides drinking water, recreation, agriculture, commercial fishing, and drives tourism in communities across the country. Today’s Clean Water Act rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers, helps clarify which streams, wetlands and other water bodies are protected by the Clean Water Act. The “Waters of the United States Proposed Rule” offers a significant step for identifying which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act and restores the safeguards that protect waterways from ongoing pollution threats.

“Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has been interpreted to protect our nation’s streams, wetlands, lakes and rivers. However, Supreme Court decisions have caused confusion over which streams and wetlands are included under those protections. With more than 117 million Americans, including millions of park visitors, relying on clean rivers, lakes, and streams for their drinking water and recreation, today’s rule-making will better protect waterways that are left in legal limbo by stating more clearly which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act and those that are not protected. The new rule will continue to honor the law’s current exemptions for farming, ranching, and forestry practices.

“The health of our national parks is directly linked to the health of the waters that surround and flow through them. From Acadia to the Grand Canyon, Everglades to Lake Clark, water is central to wildlife, recreation and visitor enjoyment, with many of the headwaters of our rivers and streams located in and around national parks.  Unfortunately, more than half of our 401 national parks have waterways that are considered “impaired” under the Clean Water Act, meaning they do not meet health-protective water quality standards. Today’s rule helps the National Park Service protect park waters by restoring protections to many of the small streams and wetlands in and around these treasured places.

“We urge EPA and the Army Corps to finalize the Clean Water Act rule and encourage Americans to voice their support for this important effort that will strengthen protections for America’s waterways.”

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