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SER Co-Signs Letter Opposing US Clean Water Rule Redefinition

Friday, April 12, 2019  
Posted by: Rebecca Shoer
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April 10, 2019


The Society for Ecological Restoration joined eleven scientific societies in opposition of proposed revisions to the 2015 Clean Water Rule. The proposed Rule, from the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers, would "eliminate protections from more than 18 percent of the nation's stream miles and more than 50 percent of wetlands." 

The 2015 Rule was grounded in sound science with clear definitions of waterways, and was the result of exhaustive research and review. The Rule also underwent an extensive stakeholder review process. The proposed Rule adopts a much narrower interpretation of "waterways," and has not been subjected to rigorous scientific review. In addition, many of the definitions and terms in the proposed Rule are vague or unclear, leaving room for misinterpretation and setting a dangerous precedent of inaccuracy in implementation.

The proposed Rule will also fail to protect the critical ecosystem services provided by the nation's waters and wetlands, from drinking water and fisheries to flood resilience and protection from sea level rise. This, in turn, threatens the livelihoods and local economies of citizens and communities across the country.

The conclusion of these 12 societies is grim: "Under this proposed Rule, the CWA’s primary goal of maintaining and restoring the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of downstream traditional navigable waters would not be possible. In conclusion,
we wish to state in the strongest possible terms that the proposed Rule should be rejected."

You can read the entire letter here, and SER strongly encourages its members in the United States to submit a public comment here (open until April 15).