At the end of August, former IWLA national president Charles "Chuck" Clayton (pictured here on the left) testified in support of the Clean Water Rule at a U.S. Senate field hearing in Rapid City, South Dakota. The hearing was led by Senator Mike Rounds (above right). It was the second time this year that League leaders and staff have testified before the Senate on this critical issue. Read the full testimony....
Clayton emphasized that protecting clean water and wetlands is vital to outdoor recreation, public health, and the economy in South Dakota and across the nation. Tourism is South Dakota’s second largest industry, with a positive economic impact of $2 billion each year. Hunters and anglers spend $800 million annually in the state, and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks estimates that pheasant hunting in the prairie pothole region attracts 80,000 nonresident hunters every fall.
Clayton also highlighted how threats to clean water and healthy wetlands have grown as Clean Water Act protections have been weakened. A recent University of Wisconsin-Madison study concluded that between 2008 and 2012, South Dakota lost more than 12,000 acres of wetlands due to conversion to agricultural use — the third highest loss of any state in the nation.
His testimony reiterated that the Clean Water Rule, which the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized last year, is science-based, limited, and more specifically identifies the waters that are — and are not — covered by the Clean Water Act.