Sportsmen Oppose Baseless Attacks on Clean Water

Harmful policy riders weaken protection for our nation’s waters and wetlands

07-07-2011 // Mekell Mikell
Acadia Park

The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee has attacked our nation’s treasured waters by passing another harmful policy rider that threatens fish and wildlife and the future of hunting and angling. Section 435 would block the Environmental Protection Agency from updating Clean Water Act guidance and pursuing a formal rulemaking crucial to restoring Clean Water Act protections for streams that supply drinking water to 117 million Americans and wetlands that provide flood protection and critical fish and wildlife habitat. National sportsmen’s groups joined in condemning the damaging measure.

"Apparently, the House Appropriations Committee is not hearing the news of oil spilling into the Yellowstone River, human health-threatening algal blooms in Oklahoma reservoirs and the expanding ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf,” said Steve Moyer, Vice President for Government Affairs of Trout Unlimited. “Americans, especially America’s hunters and anglers, need a strong Clean Water Act, and the foundation of the Act is to do a good job of determining what waters are to be protected by it.”

The House action would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing updated Clean Water Act guidance developed from the public input of thousands of Americans. The harmful rider closely resembles a similarly misguided rider that would prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing the same Clean Water Act guidance. Both riders also bar the agencies from providing clarity on the Act through a formal rulemaking process. Supreme Court justices, industry lobbyists, and conservation groups all are calling for this much-needed rulemaking.

“Like Yogi Berra said, it’s ‘déjà vu all over again’ with attacks on the Clean Water Act,” noted Scott Kovarovics, Conservation Director for the Izaak Walton League. “Now, it’s the Interior Appropriations bill that will derail common sense efforts by EPA to restore Clean Water Act protections to streams that supply our drinking water and wetlands critical for ducks, fish and wildlife.”

“The Section 435 rider leaves us with an intolerable status quo that threatens wetlands and tributaries that provide clean water for iconic systems like the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes, recharge aquifers, help protect flood-prone communities, and provide important fish and wildlife habitat,” said Jan Goldman-Carter, National Wildlife Federation Wetlands and Water Resources Counsel.

For details on the proposed guidance, read “The Clean Water Act Guidance: What It Does and Does Not Do” at www.trcp.org/assets/pdf/Clean_Water_Act_Guidance_Explanation.pdf.

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