An important vote is coming as early as next Tuesday, November 3, 2015. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on S. 1140, which would halt the Obama Administration’s near-final rulemaking to clarify longstanding Clean Water Act protections for millions of wetlands and headwater streams that contribute to the drinking water of one in three Americans.
We urge Senators to oppose both S. 1140 and the Resolution of Disapproval regarding the Clean Water Rule under the Congressional Review Act. Neither of these pieces of legislation constitutes a simple restart for the Clean Water Rule.
S. 1140 would require the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to write a new rule that rolls back historic protections for waterways. And if it reaches the Senate floor, the entire Clean Water Act could be open for amendment by those who would like to gut clean water protections even more.
The Resolution of Disapproval would prohibit agencies from putting forth a new rule that is substantially the same as the Clean Water Rule. Ultimately that could prohibit the EPA and the Army Corps from issuing any rule that establishes protections for the lakes, streams, and wetlands the Clean Water Rule was written to protect.
Such legislative language could compromise the ability of the agencies to effectively enforce the Clean Water Act and make legal clarification of the scope of that law impossible. Clearly, this is an effort to muddy the regulatory waters and make protecting clean water that much more difficult. We urge senators to join us in standing up for the Clean Water Act and protecting water quality.
Family farmers, ranchers, and residents of small-town America are the tip of the spear when it comes to clean water. Not just because the rain that flows across the surface of our nation most often falls in rural America first, but also because our crops, livestock, and our families depend upon quality drinking water.
Hunters, anglers, farmers, ranchers, and everyone in rural and small-town America who recognize our lives and livelihoods are interconnected with water quality also recognize we have a responsibility to steward the water that passes over our land. Not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors downstream as well.
The Senate should set these bills aside and let us work to conserve and protect rural America’s most precious natural resource, our drinking water.
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