Water News

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.

EPA Proposes Major Upgrade for Clean Water Rules

On March 25, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed an administrative rule to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act. The loopholes left more than half of America’s streams and millions of wetland acres unprotected from pollution.

The new rules will provide much needed clarity in Clean Water Act enforcement; clarity that will be advantageous across rural and small town America.

Water: Overcoming a Tragedy of the Commons

Supplies of freshwater are tightening. The issue is complex – driven by changes in surface and groundwater use, a changing climate, and a patchwork of regulatory bodies.  Take an example from the Center’s backyard. Across an expansive swath of the heartland, water from the Ogallala Aquifer supports farm, ranch, and rural life. More than two million people and one-fifth of the wheat, corn, cotton, and cattle grown in our country are supported by the aquifer.

There’s one problem. We’re depleting key parts of the aquifer faster than they can be recharged by rain.

Oil and Water Don't Mix

The Keystone XL pipeline threatens natural resources that rural folks depend on. The pipeline is not in the best interest of America’s small towns or those that depend upon agriculture for their livelihood.

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