WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will publish its proposed replacement for the Clean Water Rule in the Federal Register on Feb. 14, initiating the 60-day public comment period. Bart Johnsen-Harris, clean water advocate for Environment America, issued the following statement:
“Considering the Dirty Water Rule would strip federal protections from thousands of waterways across the country, the EPA is giving Americans an astonishingly brief opportunity to speak out on the most sweeping attack on clean water in recent memory.
“The health of America’s rivers, lakes, and bays depends on the streams that feed them and the wetlands that filter out dangerous toxins. Eliminating protections from these waterways would put the drinking water sources for up to 117 million Americans at risk of pollution. From the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay to Puget Sound and the Mississippi River, this rule would jeopardize our most iconic waterways.
“If enacted, the Dirty Water Rule would replace the Clean Water Rule, which restored federal protections to more than half our nation’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands. The Clean Water Rule had the backing of more than 1,000 scientific studies and supporting comments from more than 1 million Americans.
“As stewards of the environment, it is a moral obligation to protect our country’s waters. For the sake of our ecosystem, our way of life, and our drinking water, we must stop the EPA from opening our waters to polluters.”