Clear Creek County Commissioner Tim Mauck testified today before a joint hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in support of a proposed federal rule that would restore protections to headwater streams under the Clean Water Act.
The so-called Waters of the United States rule, put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, is in draft form, and has received support in the form of public comment from about 800,000 Americans. It was crafted in response to a pair of Supreme Court rulings in the early and mid-2000s that removed longstanding Clean Water Act protections from “intermittent and ephemeral” headwater streams unless they were shown to have a “significant nexus” with the larger rivers and streams into which they flow. The EPA and the Corps have since proven a scientific nexus between America’s great rivers and their headwater streams–hence the draft rule.
Despite the overwhelming public support for the rule, many in Congress see the rule as “overreach,” and efforts are afoot to derail the established rule-making process and prohibit the EPA from restoring protections to headwater streams under the Clean Water Act.
“As an elected county commissioner, I am testifying to convey how important clean water is for my community,” Mauck told the members of the committees today. “The proposed clean water rule will protect the headwaters, tributaries and wetlands that are essential for providing the high-quality water that supports the hunting, fishing, rafting and outdoor recreation that are an economic backbone for my community. Clean water from streams and wetlands also provide drinking water for thousands of our residents.”
Mauck, an avid sportsman and a member of Trout Unlimited, told committee members that headwater streams in and around Clear Creek County are healthier today thanks to the Clean Water Act, and that Congressional efforts to scuttle the rulemaking process are burdensome and unnecessary.
“I am not alone as a local elected official who supports this rule,” Mauck testified. “More than 280 local elected officials signed letters in support of this rule during the comment period. Cities as large as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Austin, Boston and Baltimore passed resolutions or submitted comments in favor of the rule, as did counties from New Jersey to Michigan. I urge the committee to allow this process to play out without delaying, derailing, or significantly altering the intent of the rule.”
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization, boasting more than 150,000 members from coast to coast. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and keep up with all of our work by reading our blog.
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