Tuesday, February 7th, 2023
Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Anglers, hunters, conservationists: Speak up NOW for clean water

Trout Unlimited says that nearly 60 percent of all of the stream miles in the United States are classified as small, intermittent or headwater and could be adversely affected by altering this rule.

The Trump administration announced last week that it’s giving U.S. citizens 30 days to respond to its proposal to repeal the Obama-era Clean Water Rule. You can check out the complete proposal and comment link via the Federal Register here.

As documented in this space before, it took the better part of two administrations and 15 years to create the current rule after a couple of U.S. Supreme Court rulings that muddied the waters. I believe the previous administration thoroughly vetted the existing rule, and for all practical purposes, it doesn’t create any more regulatory issues than the Clean Water Act did for the 30 years prior to the SCOTUS rulings. The country enjoyed a bustling economy during that era plus an improving environment.

Many conservation groups, especially Trout Unlimited strongly have objected to the Trump administration’s proposal and short comment period. TU says that nearly 60 percent of all of the stream miles in the United States are classified as small, intermittent or headwater and could be adversely affected by altering this rule. In June, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would begin the process of repealing the 2015 Clean Water Rule that protects such streams; however, the opening of the 30-day comment period didn’t occur until last week.

In a release, TU warned that the repeal would “roll back protections on small (headwater/ephemeral) streams that were in place for the first 30 years of the Clean Water Act.

“After these protections were called into question by conflicting court interpretations, the Clean Water Rule was developed to provide clarity and certainty regarding protections. The Rule was developed over a multi-year process with extensive public comment and scientific review, which culminated in 2015.”

Last month, a group of 22 U.S. senators, all Democrats, also objected to the short comment period in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Army Corps of Engineers Deputy Assistant Secretary Douglas Lamont.

“In total, the Obama Administration allowed the public to comment on the original rule for 180 days in 2014 and responded to over one million public comments.

As Tim Spielman documented in a news story in this week’s print edition of Outdoor News, the comment period runs through August 28. I strongly encourage citizens of Minnesota and the entire country to demand that the Trump administration preserve the already well-vetted Clean Water Rule.

Want to chime in? In addition to the Federal Register link, Trout Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership have provided quick and easy ways – TU here and TRCP here – to advocate for clean water and fish habitat.

Please, before August 28 rolls around, make your voice heard.

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