Scott Pruitt’s EPA is taking aim at yet another Obama-era policy - the Clean Water Rule of 2015. This rule addressed the term "waters of the United States" as used in 1972’s Clean Water Act, and broadened the definition to include rivers, streams, and other small waterways which originally weren’t explicitly addressed in the Act. In fact, it protects about 60 percent of bodies of water in the country.
When the Clean Water Rule was brought to public comment in 2015, 87 percent of the million people who commented showed support for the Rule. Clean water in big waterways and small, of course, is in everyone’s best interest. At a time when more and more people are concerned about the toxins in their drinking water, loosening regulations on polluters is clearly dangerous to human health.
Now Pruitt wants to return to the 1972 terms of what the Clean Water Act and explicitly exclude the small waterways that had been protected in 2015. Large businesses, especially in the agriculture industry, argue that the rules constitute government overreach and cause economic harm. If the EPA leaves enforcement of environmental protections to individual State’s discretion, we will inevitably have less and less protection from polluting industries.
This is just the first step in a large-scale assault on the Clean Water Act. We cannot allow this repeal of the Clean Water Rule to go through. Take action by submitting your comment to the EPA until Aug. 28th, 2017. Use this example comment if you like.
Dear Administrator Pruitt,
I ___(name) stand firmly by the EPA's Clean Water Rule of 2015. In its current form, streams, rivers lakes and other wetlands are given the necessary protections, and any attempt to weaken these designations is against the spirit of the bipartisan Clean Water Act of 1972. I uphold the Clean Water Rule of 2015 because it ensures us
clean water and viable habitats for people and animals. Any attempt to limit these protection to will lead industries to recklessly pollute waterways to the detriment of public health and safety. I oppose any and all efforts of the EPA to work against one of its central missions of providing Americans with clean and safe drinking water.
This post is by Eleanor Greene and Mark Rakhmilevich.