On Wednesday of next week two committees from the House and the Senate will hold a joint hearing to discuss the Waters of the United States Rule—the rule put forward by the Obama administration last year to help clarify the extent of Clean Water Act protections. You can watch these proceedings live at 10a EST on February 4 via this House webcast, or follow us on twitter @healthylakes where we’ll be live-tweeting the event. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition strongly supports the Waters of the U.S. rule, also known at the EPA’s Protect Clean Water Rule. The rule clarifies the extent of the Clean Water Act, restoring protections for small streams and wetlands that were protected for almost 30 years.
The clarity provided by the Waters of the U.S. Rule is critical to the success of Great Lakes restoration: small tributaries, whose protection under the Clean Water Act is unclear, feed into larger rivers like the Kalamazoo, the Cuyahoga, the Milwaukee, and the St. Louis. In turn, these rivers feed into the Great Lakes, provide habitat for spawning like sturgeon, and are the source of drinking water for countless communities around the lakes. Indeed, over 30 million people in the Great Lakes get some of their drinking water from these currently unprotected streams and rivers. Protecting these small waters from nutrient pollution, toxins, or industrial waste is not optional if we want to see the Great Lakes restored.
You can read more background information about the Waters of the U.S. Rule here.