The Clean Water Network

Texas and the EPA’s Waters of the United States

We told Texas lawmakers that we need clean water now

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Swimmer in open water
Public Domain via Pixnio

28% of Texas rivers and streams aren’t safe for swimming. On August 23rd, the Natural Resources Committee of the Texas House of Representatives requested comment on new rules under consideration by the EPA related to defining “Waters of the United States.” For those of us not steeped in water issues at issue here is what would fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. That can be a surprisingly contentious issue. Large rivers and streams as well as coastal areas are straightforward, but what about ephemeral streams that only exist for a few days after a rain? Or wetlands? Or even a manmade fishing pond? The new rules proposed by the EPA, which are still being finalized, seeks to answer some of those questions. I had the opportunity to speak to the Natural Resources committee on behalf of Environment Texas and offer our input. My testimony focused on the current state of our waters, levels of pollution, enforcement of standards by TCEQ, and drought conditions.  You can read my testimony here.

Michael Lewis

Former Clean Air and Water Advocate, Environment Texas

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