Scientific review supports new clean water protections under 'Waters of the U.S.' rule
The long-awaited study, "Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters," released by the Environmental Protection Agency, provides the scientific underpinning for the proposed Clean Water Protection Rule, which is due to be finalized by the Agency this spring.
WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 15, 2015 -- The long-awaited study, "Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters," released today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), provides the scientific underpinning for the proposed Clean Water Protection Rule (CWPR), or 'Waters of the U.S.' rule, which is due to be finalized by the Agency this spring.
The scientific report shows that small streams and wetlands can affect downstream water quality and help supply drinking water to millions of Americans and is further evidence that these waterbodies need protection from pollution, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) noted (see "CWPR to help communities, municipalities receive safe drinking water").
"The science confirms what common sense tells us: Small and seasonal waters significantly influence the condition of waterbodies downstream," said Jon Devine, a senior attorney in NRDC's Water Program. "This new report should wash away any doubt that EPA's clean water rule proposal is based on sound science. The Clean Water Rule is a sensible way to restore protections to these waters, which have been in legal limbo for more than a decade."
EPA released a draft of today's reportin September, 2013, for public comment. The study, which incorporates detailed input from a peer review by the independent Science Advisory Board, will be used as the basis for finalizing the CWPR. First proposed last year, the rule will clarify which waterbodies are covered by Clean Water Act protections. It will restore clear protection to waters that contribute to the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans. Opponents of the rule have demanded that EPA not act without a final, peer-reviewed report, and this report directly satisfies that demand.