Press Release Nov 4, 2015

Senate Bills Jeopardize Clean Water Protections for Parks

Statement by Chad Lord, National Parks Conservation Association

WASHINGTON – The Senate voted twice this week to block the Obama Administration’s strengthening of the Clean Water Act. The Administration’s plan will protect millions of users of our nation’s rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water – including those in national parks. The first vote, which took place yesterday and required 60 votes on a cloture motion on S. 1140, failed, but the vote today on S.J. Res. 22 succeeded on a simple majority vote.

Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has protected 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.

The final Clean Water Rule, proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year, aims to better protect our waters by stating more clearly which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act. This week’s bills (S. 1140 and S.J. Res. 22) would upend the existing, traditional rulemaking process and prevent the implementation of the final Clean Water Rule.

Below is a statement by Chad Lord, Senior Director of Water Policy for the National Parks Conservation Association:

“More than one third of the total U.S. population gets their drinking water from small headwater streams and tributaries. More than half of our national parks have waterways that are considered ‘impaired’ under the Clean Water Act. These waterways do not meet healthy water quality standards for activities like drinking, fishing and swimming, and this week’s efforts do nothing to keep our parks and their visitors safe from unnecessary risk.

“The Clean Water Rule provides a clear science-based and legal framework for determining which waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act, and to halt this framework is to deny clean water to our families and our national parks.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.