Water News

Clean Water Act: What Questions Do You Have?

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a rule to clarify what the law is regarding which bodies of water are subject to the Clean Water Act. This rule, sometimes called the Waters of the U.S., or “WOTUS,” has stirred up some controversy, especially among farmers and ranchers.

At the Center, we strive to bring you accurate information about the issues that concern rural people, so you can participate in our democratic process.

Down and Dirty on the Clean Water Act

After several hours in the hot summer sun baling hay, running a race, or watching your kids or grandkids in your local parade, nothing quite hits the spot like a cool, clean glass of water. Growing up in Wisconsin, I thought our water tasted the best of anywhere I’d ever been. I’m sure you might say the same about the water in a small town you know.

This is why the Center welcomes clarifications to the Clean Water Act – they help keep our water clean.

Clarity Comes to the Clean Water Act

We use gallons of it every day and can’t live without it. Clear, clean, fresh water. Many of us depend on usable surface water for drinking, irrigation, cleaning, or livestock. And we have the Clean Water Act to thank.

The Clean Water Act used to apply to all surface water in the United States until two decisions by the Supreme Court changed that. Confusion regarding the law’s enforcement has reigned ever since those court decisions in 2001 and 2006.

Clearing the Regulatory Waters

After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

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