National

Sportsmen need clean water to ensure healthy fish and wildlife populations. Farmers need clean water for livestock and crops. And every American needs clean water to drink, swim in, boat on, and enjoy. The clean water rule will restore protections for small streams and wetlands that were eliminated due to confusing Supreme Court decisions and agency rules.

Help Protect Streams and Wetlands Today!

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reconsidering which streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. After repealing the 2015 Clean Water Rule, the EPA is now considering what will replace it. The agency has been directed to consider former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s minority opinion from a case in 2006 that would leave 60 percent of U.S. stream miles and 20 million acres of wetlands vulnerable to pollution.

Urge the EPA to adopt strong protections for streams and wetlands! To start, go to regulations.gov and click on the “comment now” button located in the upper right hand side of the page. Insert the draft letter, personalizing it with your own stories about why clean water is important to you, or type in your own comments urging the EPA to protect streams, wetlands, and clean water. Click Continue and you can preview your comments, then click “Submit Comment.”

Note, the EPA is hosting a series of listening sessions and public meetings via teleconference to gather input before drafting their proposed rule that will replace the Clean Water Rule. We expect that the EPA and Corps will unveil their proposed rule sometime in early 2018.

Read the background information on this important issue.

Trump Administration Puts America’s Waters at Risk

On February 28, 2017, the Trump Administration issued an Executive Order to rescind or revise the Clean Water Rule. This president directed the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to consider defining waters protected by the Clean Water Act based on an extreme minority opinion from the Supreme Court. Under this opinion, the Clean Water Act would not protect small streams, such as headwaters, unless they flow continuously. Moreover, it would also deny protection for many wetlands – including prairie potholes critical to migratory waterfowl and other wildlife – that lack a continuous surface connection to larger waters.

To protect our nation’s drinking water resources and economy, revisions to the Clean Water Rule must not rely on Justice Scalia’s opinion to define waters protected by the Clean Water Act.

Warning sign for polluted water (Photo credit: iStock)

IWLA's Statement on the President's Budget Proposal


On March 16, 2017, President Trump released his budget outline that reflects the broad priorities of the administration. On virtually every issue of importance to the League the administration’s priorities are sharply at odds with our priorities. Read more...

League Testifies Before Senate To Support Clean Water Rule

Former IWLA national president Charles “Chuck” Clayton testified in August 2016 in support of the Clean Water Rule at a U.S. Senate field hearing in Rapid City, South Dakota. He emphasized that protecting clean water and wetlands is vital to outdoor recreation, public health, and the economy in South Dakota and across the nation and highlighted how threats to clean water and healthy wetlands have grown as Clean Water Act protections have been weakened. Read the full testimony.

IWLA Executive Director Scott Kovarovics testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife in May 2016 in support of the Clean Water Rule. Georgetown University law professor William Buzbee testified on the constitutionality of the clean water rule.

BACKGROUND

The Clean Water Act was signed into law in 1972 to safeguard our country’s most precious natural resource, and did so successfully for decades. But after Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 led to badly flawed administrative policies, at least 20 million wetland acres and nearly 60 percent of stream miles in the continental United States – around 2 million miles – lost clearly defined protections against draining, filling, and polluting simply because they are smaller or farther upstream than other waters. Moreover, these small streams contribute to drinking water supplies for 117 million Americans. The League ​has been working to restore protections for small streams and wetlands and ensure America’s waters are safe for fishing, swimming, and other uses.

Read more about the Clean Water Rule:

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