In late 2018, EPA proposed a sweeping rollback of Clean Water Act protections, threatening drinking water supplies for 1 in 3 Americans, habitat for fish and wildlife, and the $887 billion outdoor recreation economy.
Most tributary streams – regardless of where they flow or how they affect water quality and public health – would lose protection under the new proposal. The proposal would also strip protection for as many as 20 million acres of wetlands because they do not have a continuous surface connection to a river or lake.
April 15, 2019, marked the end of the public comment period for the proposal. If adopted, the proposed rule would limit the Clean Water Act's ability to protect many small tributary streams and wetlands across the country. Because clean water is so important to Ikes, the League has been engaged on this issue since day one. We can now report that our efforts opposing this harmful regulation really finished strong.
Despite a historically short comment period, more than 500 League members and supporters used an action alert created by League staff to send comments to EPA and the Corps of Engineers opposing the proposed rule. In addition, 44 chapters, and every single one of the League's 17 state divisions, signed on to a letter opposing the rollback. The letter was submitted to EPA and the Corps, sending a powerful signal of how important this issue is across the country. Finally, outreach by League staff led to 18 small businesses in Iowa and Illinois signing on to a letter championing the importance of clean water for businesses and opposing the proposed rule.
All of our work these last few weeks has been focused on driving engagement in this rulemaking process because we understand how important this issue is for Ikes and all Americans. We can all be proud of the work that we’ve done to fight this proposed rule, but we can’t assume that it’s over. After considering all of the comments that were submitted, which is likely to take several months, the agencies will announce their final rule. We hope that rule will reflect a greater understanding of the importance of clean water, unlike the draft rule that we just finished commenting on. While we won’t know for a while what the outcome of this rulemaking will be, you can rest assured that the League will continue fighting for clean water!
Learn more about EPA's bad proposal.