Health, Business, and Community Voices Urge EPA to Keep Clean Water Rule

Environment America

Today more than 600 leaders from 43 states – including doctors and nurses, business owners, state and local officials, and watershed activists – urged U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to maintain the Clean Water Rule.  Environment America Research & Policy Center submitted their comments in response to EPA’s proposal to dismantle the Rule, which restored federal protections to drinking water sources for 117 million Americans.

“Clean water is vital to our health, to our communities, and to our natural heritage,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America Research & Policy Center.  “And these community leaders are bringing one simple message to the EPA:  do not weaken the Clean Water Act.”

Finalized in 2015, the Clean Water Rule restored Clean Water Act protections for half the nation’s streams and thousands of wetlands across the country.  These streams help provide drinking water to 117 million Americans, and wetlands filter out pollutants and provide communities with critical protection against flooding.

Moreover, a wide range of businesses – including outfitters, brewers, and tourism – depend on clean water for their livelihoods.  Among the comments submitted to EPA by Environment America Research & Policy Center is an amicus brief in support of the Rule signed by 234 businesses from across the country.

Jeff Garnsey, owner of Classic Island Cruises in Clayton, New York, is one of these business owners rising to defend the Clean Water Rule.  His family has been chartering fishing expeditions along the St. Lawrence River for seven generations. Jeff and his family have a vital stake in the Clean Water Rule, because their business depends on the health and integrity of the streams, tributaries, and wetlands in the St. Lawrence River watershed.

“These waters are, quite simply, the pumps through which the lifeblood of the river flows,” said Garnsey.   

In addition to business owners, 120 doctors, nurses, and other health professionals, as well more than 100 state and local officials, were among local leaders urging EPA to abandon its plans to dismantle the Clean Water Rule in comments filed by Environment America Research & Policy Center.

Separately today, a large coalition of organizations – including Environment America – is expected to submit more than half a million new comments in support of the Clean Water Rule from individuals across the country.