WASHINGTON, DC – Following the end of the comment period last week, a coalition of environmental groups including the League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Water Action, Environment America, Southern Environmental Law Center, Sierra Club and American Rivers announced today that they’ve collected more than 800,000 comments in support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Rule. The rule clarifies Clean Water Act protections for small streams and wetlands.
“This is truly monumental. Americans across the country support this rule because they understand the importance of protecting the waterways that impact the drinking water of 117 million Americans and serve as crucial habitat for wildlife. Support for this rule is a wakeup call to polluters and their allies in Congress: Americans are demanding clean water now and for all future generations,” said Madeleine Foote, LCV Legislative Representative.
“The range of backers of this rule–from public health professionals to commercial fishing groups to craft brewers to outdoorsmen–demonstrates that support is as broad as it is deep,” said Jon Devine, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“The massive support for the Administration’s proposal isn’t a surprise,” said Jennifer Peters, Clean Water Action’s National Water Campaigns Coordinator. “Americans know how important it is to put drinking water first and want to see the strongest possible protections for our streams and wetlands and will fight back against any polluter friendly efforts to weaken these common sense safeguards for our water.”
“Our waters are where we fish, boat, and swim,” said Ally Fields, Clean Water Advocate for Environment America. “This show of public support is just one more reason we should be doing everything we can to protect our rivers and streams.”
“As the most significant federal rulemaking on water protections in three decades, this rule is critical and long overdue for communities, industries and ecosystems that depend on clean water,” said Bill Sapp, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Clarifying and enforcing protections will help to ensure that our citizens have access to clean drinking water, and that our region’s streams, lakes and rivers remain healthy.”
“The sheer number of people who have raised their voices shows how important clean water is across the United States. Our wetlands, lakes, and streams provide essential and economically valuable services, from protecting our communities from floods to providing clean drinking water. Now that hundreds of thousands of citizens have voiced their support, we call on the Administration to finalize these clear and concise safeguards to clarify which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act,” said Dalal Aboulhosn, Senior Washington Representative at Sierra Club.
“The tremendous number of Americans concerned about clean water and supporting the new rule should come as no surprise,” said Gary Belan, Senior Director of Clean Water Supply at American Rivers. “Several high-profile pollution events in the past year have raised concerns about the quality of our rivers and our drinking water. Clean water is on all of our minds. A strong, common-sense Clean Water Rule is vital to ensure healthy rivers and streams that are essential to all of us.”