EPA Proposes Huge Step Forward in Clean Water Protections

Today the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed a federal rule to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act that leave more than half of America’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands at risk of unchecked pollution and development.

The Agencies have outlined critical steps to fix a mess the Bush Administration made back in 2002.  That’s when EPA and the Corps  “broke” the Clean Water Act by removing its protections for many small streams and wetlands.  The rule, which could be finalized by the end of 2014, would restore Clean Water Act protections to 20 million acres of wetlands and more than half our nation’s streams, restoring protections to the drinking water supplies for 117 million Americans. Read a Fact Sheet here.

The Upper Missouri Waterkeeper, Guy Alsentzer, said: “Today’s action is critical to protecting and improving the health of water throughout Southwest and West-Central Montana. Montana’s Upper Missouri River Basin possess untold numbers of natural springs, seeps, intermittent waterways and wetlands. We are the headwaters for the largest river in the lower 48. In reaffirming protections for Montana’s headwaters and and the wetlands that filter pollution we move one step closer towards using sound science to protect clean water and a Clean Water Act that operates the way it was intended to work.”

The draft rule will soon be published in the Federal Register along with a public comment period. We’ll keep you all tuned as to that opportunity and how to make your voice heard on the importance of strong, science-based clean water protections for Montana’s water.

Read the Bozeman Chronicle’s story on EPA’s proposed new rule here.

Watch a 2 minute film from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaking to the importance of the new, draft rule here: