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Restore Protection To Thousands Of Our Nation's Critical Waterways

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Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

Under new rules, clean water for Americans and critical wildlife habitat fall victim to corporate greed.

Federal protections for at least half of our country's wetlands and their tributaries within the United States have been removed since 2016. These waterways include millions of square miles of critical natural habitat for native plants and animals. They are also vital for maintaining clean drinking water for millions of Americans.

The protections rolled back include the Waters of the United States rules2, as well as protections previously outlined in 2015 that extended the application of the 1972 Clean Water Act to wetlands and streams that dry up or run underground for part of the year. Without federal protection, the future of these vital ecosystems is at the behest of the highest bidder.3 Corporate polluters and unscrupulous developers are free to destroy these national resources without fear of punishment or regulation, leeching harmful "forever chemicals" like PFOS/PFAS into the environment.4

This rule change was pushed through even though a team of approved scientists decried the measure, and together signed a statement claiming that it "neglects established science." Meanwhile, Betsy Southerland, former director of the Office of Science and Technology in the EPA's Office of Water, called the new rules "scientifically indefensible and socially unjust."

"This EPA's WOTUS rule, which limits federal water quality protections to a very small set of waters and wetlands, will result in the impairment of drinking water, fisheries, and flood control for communities throughout the U.S.," Southerland stated5. "This rule transfers the costs of pollution control and wetland protection from miners, oil and gas producers, and land developers – who will no longer be regulated – to downstream communities who will have to pay to protect themselves."

There is still hope for our country's water. Some states intend on suing the EPA to see the protections restored.

Join us in sending a message to the EPA Administrator. Demand that the Environmental Protection Agency restore federal protections to wetlands, feeder streams, and tributaries in the United States that are not adjacent to larger bodies of water, further requiring landowners and companies to apply for the EPA's permission before developing on those lands or using them for agricultural or industrial runoff.

Clean water is an important and increasingly threatened resource in the United States. We must protect it. Sign today.

More on this issue:

  1. Trump Removes Pollution Controls on Streams and Wetlands, Coral Davenport, The New York Times (January 23, 2020)
  2. Federal wetland regulations, Department of Ecology State of Washington (retrieved Jan. 24, 2020)
  3. Trump Administration Lessens Clean Water Protections For Streams, Wetlands, Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder, U.S. News (2020, January 23, 2020)
  4. What you need to know about PFAS or 'forever' chemicals, Stephanie Ebbs, ABC News (November 26, 2019)
  5. EPA finalizes clean water rollback amid science challenges, Elvina Nawaguna, Roll Call (January 23, 2020)
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The Petition:

EPA Administrator,

The recent rollback of protections for waterways in the United States will accelerate ecological disasters in our country at an unprecedented rate. A hand-picked team scientists pointed to solid evidence that deregulation of critical waterways leads to diminished water quality and the destruction of natural habitats. This rule change ignores scientific reason by removing these federal protections.

Any benefit this provides to landowners and developers will be far offset by the effects of unrestrained pollutants on local flora and fauna, not to mention human health.

It's imperative that the EPA stand up for our country's waterways, as it was created to do. The availability of clean, healthy water for Americans and the protection of critical habitats for our great nation's wildlife are far more important than private corporate profits gained at the expense of American citizens.

I demand that you restore the federal protections defined in the Waters of the United States rules and the 1972 Clean Water Act to the contested wetlands and their tributaries today.


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