Provide comment on the EPA’s Waters of the US Rule
As previously reported, the Biden administration has proposed a rule that would permanently reject the so-called “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” the prior administration’s now-vacated definition of “waters of the U.S.” This would put back into place the pre-2015 definition of “waters of the U.S.” until the Biden administration creates a new, stronger rule defining Clean Water Act jurisdiction later in 2022.
As a reminder, EPA will hold virtual hearings as part of the rulemaking process to take oral comments from members of the public on January 12, 13, and 18, 2022. We hope you will attend and urge the agencies to move swiftly in creating strong, long-lasting, science-based protections for streams, wetlands, lakes, and other waters. Please sign up for a speaking slot or encourage others in your organizations or your members to do so. It is so important that the agencies hear from a diverse range of organizations and individuals who support strong clean water protections.
Sign up here:
- Wednesday, January 12, 2022 from 10 AM – 1 PM ET (pre-registration closes Jan 7): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-epa-and-department-of-the-army-wotus-public-hearing-tickets-211244667487
- Thursday, January 13, 2022 from 2 – 5 PM ET (pre-registration closes January 10): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-epa-and-department-of-the-army-wotus-public-hearing-tickets-211258017417
- Tuesday, January 18, 2022 from 5 – 8 PM ET (pre-registration closes January 13): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-epa-and-department-of-the-army-wotus-public-hearing-tickets-211274536827
In case it is helpful, below are some proposed talking points:
- Introduce self and organization (if applicable)
- The so-called “Navigable Waters Protection Rule” allowed the pollution and destruction of our nation’s waters, and put the health of families, communities, and businesses that rely on clean, safe water at risk.
- Returning to the pre-2015 approach is significantly better than leaving the fate of our nation’s waters to the inadequate and unlawful Trump-era rule, but it is still inadequate to ensure clean water for our families and communities.
- The agencies must act promptly in finalizing the current proposal to restore longstanding clean water protections. Then the agencies must quickly move towards developing stronger, more robust clean water safeguards to protect the streams, wetlands, and lakes that we and our members rely on.
- Strong federal clean water protections that are rooted in science and consistent with the objective of the Clean Water Act are critical to ensure our nation’s waters are safe for fishing, swimming, and as sources of drinking water.
- The prior administration’s rule put countless streams, lakes, and wetlands at risk for far too long, removing clean water protections that had been in place through every other administration.
- The unlawful rule stripped protections from thousands of stream miles, many public recreational lakes, millions of acres of wetlands, and numerous other waters that perform critical ecological functions and provide numerous economic benefits for communities. For example, at-risk wetlands help protect many Southern communities facing increased, intensified rain events and flooding with climate change.
- Two federal courts in Arizona and New Mexico refused to leave the unlawful rule in place because, as has been clear since the rule was first proposed, it threatened increased pollution and flooding, endangering our communities.
- Since the prior administration’s rule took effect in June 2020, the Army Corps has slated thousands of wetlands and other waterways to be destroyed by industry. Among those projects is a recently revised jurisdictional determination that removed protections from nearly 400 acres of wetlands for a massive mine proposed adjacent to the Okefenokee Swamp. These iconic wetlands and other at-risk waters are too valuable to lose.
- Black, Brown, Indigenous, low-income, rural, and other communities are counting on the agencies to act now. Decades of environmental racism and corporate pollution have left too many low-income communities and communities of color without consistent access to safe, affordable drinking water, and the Trump-era rule only exacerbated the disparity.
- The only way for the administration to fulfill its commitment to environmental justice is for the agencies to adopt strengthened clean water safeguards as soon as possible.
- On behalf of [Insert name of organization] and its [number of members], I urge the agencies to act swiftly and consistent with the objective of the Clean Water Act.
Remember that personal stories are the most impactful: Why is protecting clean water important to you? We need the EPA to hear that this is an issue that affects real people. All of us, our families, and our communities suffer when our waterways are destroyed and polluted. Your story is important.