The Obama administration has been working with the EPA to help close a gap in the existing Clean Water Act, whereby they are anticipated to announce a regulation in the coming days that would protect additional water resources. The rule builds on the 1972 Act that limited point-source pollutant discharge and set quality standards for surface water. The new rule would require permits for construction, fertilizing, and excavating in areas near smaller streams and wetlands, and aims to restrict pollution at sites that feed into larger water bodies and ground water. These smaller bodies of water have been contested by Republicans over the last decade as not falling under the Clean Water Act, and since 2001 their protection has been obfuscated by the Supreme Court ruling. The administration is looking to close the gap in protecting these areas by issuing a new regulation, Waters of the U.S. However, as anticipated, Congress is proposing legislation to block this rule, and it is an important time to show support of these conservation efforts.
Even in light of the Clean Water Act, our water resources are continually jeopardized for the benefit of private interests as demonstrated by Duke Energy’s recent breach of the Act in 2014. In the past month a company was fined $68 million for violations of the Act stemming from their role in contaminating the Dan River in North Carolina with coal ash from improperly maintained pipes. This shows that if commercial interests are left unmonitored, water sources are jeopardized and need stronger protections, not only to preserve potable sources and aquatic life for future generations, but to ensure that these resources continue to flourish today.
The EPA has a public outreach campaign in place to educate and receive feedback regarding this endeavor. You can join the conversation on Twitter by using #DitchTheMyth or go to water.epa.gov for more information.
Please support this regulation and help conserve our country’s indispensable natural resources.
Mary Jane King, Chair
Energy and Environment Task Force