PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center
Downingtown, PA – Days after the opening of trout fishing season in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and the biggest step forward for clean water in more than a decade, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center joined with anglers and businesses to show support for the clean water rule proposed last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps). The proposed rule would clarify Clean Water Act protections for a vast network of Pennsylvania waterways that serve as source of drinking water for more than 8 million Pennsylvanians.
“With the drinking water for 8 million Pennsylvanians at risk, we’re thrilled to see the EPA moving forward to protect our waterways,” said Adam Garber, PennEnvironment Field Director. “This rule is about securing that all our water is safe and healthy. Whether we’re kayaking on Brandywine Creek, fishing in our favorite stream, or just drinking the water that comes from our tap, we need Pennsylvania’s waterways to be clean and protected.”
Standing with PennEnvironment were EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, Bill Covaleski, Brewmaster and Co-Founder of Victory Brewing Company, Fred Gender of Trout Unlimited, and Terry Peach of Marblehead Flyfisher Inc. Various groups have weighed in, and continue to weigh in, as the EPA and Army Corps move forward with a rule to clarify protections to waterways across Pennsylvania.
“The proposed rule will clarify protection of streams and wetlands that are vital to the health of downstream waterways like Brandywine Creek,” said EPA Regional Administrator Garvin. “With the clarity it will provide, the rule will help ensure that Pennsylvanians enjoy the many public health, economic and recreational benefits of clean water.”
This rulemaking comes after a decade of uncertainty over the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act, following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006. The rule would clarify Clean Water Act protections for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 90 days from publication in the Federal Register. The rule has been submitted for publication.
“Whether for drinking, recreation or brewing world-class beers, Pennsylvania’s waterways convey a vital public resource that impacts our collective health, welfare and industry,” said Bill Covaleski. “Greater protections for our water resources are applauded by us at Victory Brewing Company, as well as by all who enjoy our ’12 ounce postcards from PA.”
The breadth of support was reinforced by the speakers’ remarks as they celebrated the EPA/Army Corps’ proposal today, echoing that whether it’s for operating a business, watering crops on a farm, or turning on the tap for a drink, everyone has a stake in clean water.
“From the sportsmen perspective, EPA’s rule clarifying protections for intermittent streams will provide much needed safeguards for trout streams and upland habitat,” said Fred Gender, southeast regional vice-president for the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited. “Nearly 30% of Pennsylvania’s historic native brook trout streams are intermittent, and with this rule and other conservation and restoration efforts, there is a chance that native trout populations can recover in these smaller headwater streams.”
“Every week during fishing season, I guide groups fly fishing on the beautiful Brandywine Creek,” Said Terry Peach. “I’m glad to hear that the creek is finally going to get the protection it deserves, so it can stay clean for fishing for years to come. As much as this may be an integral part of my business, the enjoyment I get just spending time on the creek is so precious. What could anyone ask more; great place to fly fish, beautiful setting, tremendous wildlife and convenient. This watershed holds wild trout, the holy grail of our sport. The Brandywine Creek is a gem!”
PennEnvironment is launching a massive public education campaign around the proposed clean water rule. Outreach staff will highlight the benefits to local streams like Brandywine Creek, Ridley Creek and the Wissahickon to more than 150,000 Pennsylvanians.
“Allowing any of our waterways to be vulnerable to pollution means we leave our businesses, farms, and families vulnerable as well,” said Garber. “To protect the health of Brandywine Creek and our communities, we need the Clean Water Act to protect all Pennsylvania’s waterways. We stand by the EPA and Army Corps in full support of their efforts to keep our waterways clean and healthy — now and for future generations.”