A new rider inserted into the House Energy and water Appropriations Bill this week could have negative impacts on streams and wetlands all across the country, harming efforts to protect water quality and degrading angling opportunity in waters treasured by all Americans.
“This rider is an ill-conceived attack on the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency that goes after the helpful efforts of these agencies to clarify Clean Water Act protections for streams and wetlands,” said Steve Moyer, vice president for government affairs at Trout Unlimited. “This is the third year in a row the House Appropriations Committee has added harmful provisions to this bill. In the past, these riders have been beaten back. They need to be beaten back again.”
Specifically, the riders would bar the Corps from finalizing and implementing science-based Clean Water Act guidance. Sportsmen across the country support the efforts on the part of the Corps and the EPA to implement the guidance, because angling and hunting depend so much on clean water. When wetlands are drained, and clean water is polluted, fish and game struggle, and sportsmen and women feel the impacts.
Last summer, the Corps and the EPA received more than 200,000 comments on the need for guidance implementation. The vast majority supported the guidance, including more than 250 sportsmen and conservation organizations and the administrations of 28 states.
The guidance includes existing exemptions for agricultural activity and provides vital clarity to landowners, developers and state and federal agencies that often work near irreplaceable water resources.
“Rather than making it easier to pollute and foul our country’s water resources, Congress ought to be insisting that this clarity be put in place so the Clean Water Act can be as effective as possible,” Moyer said. “We’re talking water here. It’s the lifeblood of our country, and we must treat is as such.”
Trout Unlimited is a private, non-profit organization with more than 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. Follow TU on the TU blog, on Facebook, and Twitter @TroutUnlimited.