League Applauds Administration Support for Clean Water Legislation (5/22/09)
Ducks Unlimited * Izaak Walton League
National Wildlife Federation * Trout Unlimited
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Sportsmen Applaud Administration Support for Clean Water Act Protections
Letter from key federal agencies promotes a legislative solution to issue that threatens important fish and wildlife habitat; underscores importance of addressing number-one priority for sportsmen
WASHINGTON, DC – Members of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Wetlands and Clean Water Working Group today applauded statements made by the Obama administration supporting a legislative fix to the long-standing confusion over federal protections of the nation’s rivers, lakes, wetlands and streams. In a joint letter to Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chair Barbara Boxer, the heads of five executive branch agencies acknowledged the significant challenges in protecting water supplies posed by recent Supreme Court decisions and encouraged Congress to clarify those protections through legislation.
“A whole host of ecological features, which provide many important societal benefits like clean drinking water, healthy fish and wildlife populations, flood and erosion control, and recreational opportunities, remain at risk unless Congress acts,” said Steve Moyer, VP for Government Affairs of Trout Unlimited and working group co-chair. “We are very pleased that the administration has made legislative action a priority.”
Wednesday’s letter, signed by Nancy Sutley, the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Lisa Jackson, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; Interior Secretary Ken Salazar; and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Terrence Salt, outlines principles for legislation to clarify the meaning of the term “waters of the United States.” The letter conveys directly the administration’s preference for a legislative fix. “A clear statement of Congressional intent is needed to provide a foundation for steady and predictable implementation of the Clean Water Act in the years to come,” it reads.
“As the number-one issue important to sportsmen, this is a very positive development,” said Ducks Unlimited’s Director of Public Policy Barton James and a working group co-chair. “Hunters and anglers hope that this clear statement will spur congressional leaders to advance legislation that will restore those protections that have been lost.”
“The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is already considering legislation called the Clean Water Restoration Act that will restore these protections to their previous levels,” said other working group co-chair Jan Goldman-Carter, Wetlands and Water Resources Counsel at the National Wildlife Federation. “We urge Senators to support this legislation and ask that Chairman Boxer and the EPW Committee hold a mark-up on this bill in the coming weeks. Action by Congress in 2009 is critical.”
“The Administration’s clear call to action is positive for hunters and anglers and clean water across the country,” said Scott Kovarovics, Conservation Director at the Izaak Walton League. “This letter highlights the importance of Congress passing strong protections for streams, lakes and wetlands that are at risk in our communities.”
Sen. Russ Feingold introduced the Clean Water Restoration Act (S. 787) on April 2, 2009, and the bill currently has 24 co-sponsors.