It's Time to Advocate for the Clean Water Rule

In February 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was ordered by President Trump to begin the process of repealing the Clean Water Rule which defines which wetlands and waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Rule, finalized in 2015, is based on more than 1,200 publications of peer-reviewed science and was reviewed by the EPA's Science Advisory Board. It protects small streams and wetlands because science tells us that they are connected to and have a strong influence on the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of downstream waterways such as rivers. Source: American Rivers

“The current rule, known as Waters of the United States (WOTUS), unambiguously gives EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers authority that many think the agencies already possessed under the Clean Water Act. The 1972 law gave the agencies control over navigable rivers and interstate waterways, but a series of court rulings left the extent of that power ambiguous. The Obama administration sought to end a decade of confusion by finalizing the WOTUS rule, which took effect in August 2015, triggering protests from a variety of real estate development, agricultural and industrial interests.” Source: Washington Post

Speak up now - tell the EPA to keep the Rule intact. To submit comments (suggest comments below), fill out this comment form before August 28th.

Some background information on the Rule and the repeal process:

  • The Rule was developed to clarify which streams and wetlands fall under Clean Water Act protections, a clarification that was sorely needed after years of legal battles over the issue. The Rule affirmed existing court decisions that in fact, these wetlands and small streams do fall under the Clean Water Act.
  • The Clean Water Rule protects small streams that flow into drinking water sources for nearly 1 in 3 Americans. It also protects wetlands that filter pollutants from water, absorb floodwaters and provide essential habitat for wildlife.
  • This repeal is the beginning of a two step process. Following a successful repeal, EPA would then replace the Clean Water Rule with a set of rules that would substantially weaken federal pollution safeguards for streams and wetlands.

Suggested comment:

Dear Administrator Pruitt,

I am writing to urge you to uphold the 2015 Clean Water Rule defining Waters of the United States that are subject to protection under the federal Clean Water Act. Repealing this vital safeguard will put the health of communities throughout the nation at risk and undermine the water resources needed for economic development, recreation, wildlife, and quality of life. It is clearly established that these small headwater streams and wetlands are the source of much of our drinking water supply are necessary for our rivers to be the recreational resources that support our communities' economies, and reduce the extremely destructive force of flooding.

This country has made significant progress in cleaning up polluted rivers, which has brought tremendous economic benefits. Just look at the cleanup of Boston Harbor and the economic engine that has created. This example is replicated in hundreds of towns and cities across Massachusetts and New England. In the Sudbury-Concord-Assabet watershed we have made tremendous progress thanks to the Clean Water Act and judicious protection of our wetlands and tributaries.

This repeal would eliminate protections for up to 60% of streams and wetlands nationwide and jeopardize the health of drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans. In this region we are almost entirely dependent on groundwater which is fed by storm water recharge--this in turn depends on the existence of small streams and wetlands that are protected under the Clean Water Rule. I expect the Federal government to do more, not less, to ensure that we have sufficient and clean water.

The Clean Water Act has an achievable goal--to make all of our waters clean enough to fish and swim in, which will benefit all Americans. Repealing the Clean Water Rule will make it much more difficult to achieve that goal. Clean water is essential to our health, vital to all communities, and necessary for a robust economy. Please listen to the majority of Americans who expect the EPA to protect and restore clean water. What could be more important than sufficient clean water?

I oppose this repeal which will weaken commonsense safeguards that protect our water resources. I ask that, instead, you strengthen these safeguards.



Click here to fill out the comment form before August 28th.

Thank you!