Jun. 22, 2011
Contact: Katherine McKalip, 406-240-9262, email@example.com
H.R. 2018 would undermine EPA authority to enforce Clean Water Act, diminishing water quality and harming valuable fish and wildlife habitat.
WASHINGTON – American sportsmen today strongly criticized the House Transportation Committee for hastily passing legislation that would dramatically weaken the Clean Water Act and undercut four decades of progress in restoring the nation’s waters and wetlands and conserving valuable fish and wildlife habitat.
In April, sportsmen welcomed proposed guidance issued by the administration that would more clearly define which U.S. waters are subject to Clean Water Act protections, a move that would begin restoring long-standing protections to many of the nation’s wetlands, streams, lakes and headwaters that have remained threatened in the wake of two ambiguous Supreme Court decisions and subsequent agency guidance. Recent actions undertaken by House lawmakers since that time, however, attempt to weaken or undercut these restorative measures.
“The Clean Water Act has led to immense progress nationwide in cleaning up our waters, restoring fish habitat, protecting drinking water sources, reducing wetlands loss and developing water-based recreational economies,” said Steve Kline, director of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Center for Agricultural and Private Lands. “While states play a lead role in implementing some CWA protections, the law does not function without a federal backstop that ensures its goals are met. We cannot afford to threaten our waters, which serve as economic powerhouses for innumerable communities across the country.”
Waters and wetlands in the United States sustain the activities of 40 million anglers, who spend about $45 billion annually, and 2.3 million waterfowl hunters, who spend $1.3 billion annually.
“Whether Trout Unlimited is restoring small headwater streams in the Potomac Headwaters in West Virginia, removing acidic pollution caused by abandoned mines in Colorado, or protecting the world famous salmon-producing watershed of Bristol Bay, Alaska, the CWA is the safety net on which we rely,” said Steve Moyer, vice president of government affairs for Trout Unlimited. “H.R. 2018 would cut large holes in the safety net.”