New clean water rule should please anglers

Washington, D.C.—The nation’s anglers stand firmly behind a new clean water rule that will protect America’s headwater streams from excessive development while still allowing reasonable flexibility when it comes to water use by agriculture and industry all across the country. 

“The waters this rule protects are the sources of our nation’s coldest, cleanest water,” said Trout Unlimited President and CEO Chris Wood. “Not only do these waters provide the needed spawning and rearing waters for our trout and salmon, they are the sources of our iconic rivers and streams—they provide the water we all use downstream. The EPA and the Corps were right to craft this thoughtful rule in a way that protects our headwaters and our fish, but also protects the downstream uses of our nation’s water.”

The rule doesn’t add new, onerous regulations or a burdensome permitting process for those wishing to develop land in the upper reaches of watersheds. Rather, it restores protections to America’s headwater streams under the Clean Water Act that were removed after two Supreme Court decisions in the 2000s left interpretation of the Act’s scope unclear. The court ruled that there must be a proven nexus between these small, sometimes-intermittent waters and the larger rivers they feed. Armed with the science that proves such a connection, the EPA and the Corps crafted this rule that simply protects the clean-water sources of America’s rivers.

Anglers across the nation should be grateful to the Corps, the EPA and the Obama Administration for developing the new rule, and to many members of Congress who have defended it from Congressional attack.

“It has not been an easy job, to say the least,” said Steve Moyer, TU’s vice president of government affairs. “Whether friend or foe of the old proposal, TU calls on all interests to carefully scrutinize the final rule. When a good-faith assessment of it is done, we believe we’ll find a lot to like in terms of settling this vexing issue for the long run.”

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