Moran Leads 76 House Democrats in Urging White House to Finalize Clean Water Act Guidance
Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Moran, Ranking Member of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, led 76 Members of the House of Representatives today in sending a letter to President Obama calling on the Administration to protect nearly 60 percent of our waterways that supply clean drinking water to 117 million Americans which are currently at risk due to two confusing Supreme Court rulings.
“The Clean Water Act protects the health of our drinking water and safeguards our rivers, lakes and streams for future generations,” Rep. Moran said. “But due to court rulings, many of these drinking water sources are threatened because it’s not clear which ones fall under the law’s protections. We are sending this letter to urge the Administration to quickly issue the necessary guidelines so that these crucial water sources are protected.”
In the letter, lawmakers applaud the Administration’s progress in restoring Clean Water Act protections and call for the Administration to continue those efforts by finalizing EPA and Army Corps of Engineers drafted guidance, followed by establishing a rulemaking process.
In April, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released draft guidance on the Clean Water Act to clarify federal authority over protection of waterways. By finalizing the drafted guidance through OMB approval or establishing a rulemaking, the Obama administration can provide more predictable and consistent procedures for identifying waters and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.
Specifically, the EPA-USACE guidance focuses on protecting smaller waterways that keep downstream water safe from upstream pollutants and on protecting adjacent wetlands that filter pollution and store water to keep communities safe from floods. The guidance maintains current levels of federal authority under CWA, following historical precedent and Supreme Court decisions.
“From the Chesapeake Bay to the Puget Sound, people across the country love clean water and depend on it for drinking, fishing and swimming,” said Sarah Hyman, Clean Water Associate with Environment America. “Environment America applauds these members of Congress for standing up for clean water, and urges the President to take this historic step to finalize the guidelines quickly and continue his work to permanently restore protections for America’s waterways.”
According to the United Nations Educational Science and Cultural Organization, lakes and rivers have an annual economic value of $19,580 per hectare. Nationally, the commercial fishing industry generates more than $100 billion in sales and supports more than 1.5 million jobs each year. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation estimates the total annual economic value of the Chesapeake Bay is over $1 trillion.
The read the letter to President Obama, please visit: http://moran.house.gov/sites/moran.house.gov/files/documents/03.12.12_CWALetterToWhiteHouse.PDF