EPA Broadens Water Protection and Regulation

The Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have come together to create a new Clean Water Rule. According to U.S. News the original Clean Water Act that was enacted in 1972, “granted the federal government broad powers to limit pollution in so-called ‘navigable’ waterways like the Great Lakes and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. A pair of Supreme Court Decisions in 2001 and 2006, however, muddied the waters, making it unclear whether the act also covered smaller bodies like groundwater, headwaters, streams and wetlands that feed those larger waterways.”

With this new rule the EPA is able to protect and regulate smaller bodies of water. This would include wetlands, ponds, streams, and prairie potholes. Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator, said in a statement,

“For the water in the rivers and lakes in our communities that flow to our drinking water to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them need to be clean too. Protecting our water sources is a critical component of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, sea level rise, stronger storms, and warmer temperatures – which is why EPA and the Army have finalized the Clean Water Rule to protect these important waters, so we can strengthen our economy and provide certainty to American businesses.”

President Obama said in a statement,

“My administration has made historic commitments to clean water, from restoring iconic watersheds like the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes to preserving more than a thousand miles of rivers and other waters for future generations. With today’s rule, we take another step towards protecting the waters that belong to all of us.”

Environmentalists and some Democrats support this new rule and are excited about the protection of different bodies of water.

However, There are those who think that Obama’s administration and the EPA are overreaching. Earlier in the month the House, controlled by Republicans, passed a legislation that would stop this new rule.

Also, in the Senate, controlled by Republicans as well, is considering something similar. Speaker of the House, John Boehner, said that, “The rule is being shoved down the throats of hardworking people with no input, and places landowners, small businesses, farmers, and manufacturers on the road to a regulatory and economic hell.”

Photo: Flickr/USFWSmidwest

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