Wyoming Governor Matt Mead reacts to EPA “Waters of the US” rule

May 27, 2015

Fen photo via the USFS

Fen photo via the USFS


Here’s the release via Governor Matt Mead’s office:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy called Governor Mead to announce that she is signing the controversial Waters of the United States rule. Wyoming, along with a number of other states, asked McCarthy to work on concerns with the rule. Consultation with governors is required under the Clean Water Act.

“I am disappointed at the lack of consideration for the law and procedure,” said Mead. “The Administrator ignored requests to consult with states and develop a rule that complies with the law and protects water.”

Once it is signed the rule will go into the federal register for review and comment.

“This rule has wide ranging impact,” said Mead. “I am frustrated the EPA has again stepped out of the bounds of its authority and has disregarded the role and concerns of the state.”


Good News for the Nation’s Waterways — The New York Times

May 26, 2015
Early winter along the Rio Grande on the Gilmore Ranch via the Rio Grande Initiative

Early winter along the Rio Grande on the Gilmore Ranch via the Rio Grande Initiative

From Taking Note: The New York Times (Robert B. Semple, Jr.):

Joan Mulhern would have loved this day, had she lived to see it. Joan, who died at the age of 51 in December 2012, was a feisty Massachusetts native, passionate Red Sox fan and environmental lawyer who gravitated to the Washington office of Earthjustice, an advocacy group she served as a senior attorney while becoming an absolute terror to anyone who threatened the waters of the United States — legislators and lobbyists, passive regulators, coal companies that insisted on blasting the tops off mountains and dumping coal slag in the valleys and streams below. Her biggest cause, in which she enlisted every environmentalist, journalist and ordinary citizen she could buttonhole, was to restore the full meaning and scope of the 1972 Clean Water Act, whose protections, she believed, had been fatally weakened by the courts and by politicians in thrall to special interests — mainly developers, industrial and municipal polluters, and big farmers. Next week, barring an 11th-hour cave-in by the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers are expected to issue a firm, clear rule restoring federal protections to most (though probably not all) of the waters the Act’s framers, and Joan, had hoped to protect.

The Clean Water Act, one of the more successful of the landmark environmental statutes enacted under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, was for 30 years broadly interpreted by the courts and regulators as shielding virtually all the waters of the United States from pollution and unregulated development — seasonal streams and remote wetlands, as well as lakes and large navigable waters. The basic idea was that small waters have some hydrological connection to larger watersheds and should be protected against pollution that would inevitably find its way downstream, threatening ecosystems and drinking water.

Then came two confusing Supreme Court decisions — one in 2001 suggesting that the law applied only to navigable waterways, and another in 2006 suggesting that only waters with a “significant nexus” to larger waters (Justice Kennedy’s words) could be protected. These decisions — plus subsequent and largely unhelpful guidance from the George W. Bush administration — confused regulators and exposed millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams to development. According to one E.P.A. study, as well as investigations by two Democratic Congressmen, Henry Waxman and the late James Oberstar, this confusion compromised federal enforcement in over 500 pollution cases and allowed polluters to dump dangerous chemicals into many seasonal lakes, streams and other waterways without fear of federal enforcement.

More Environmental Protection Agency coverage here.


Obama Plans New Rule to Limit Water Pollution — The New York Times

May 25, 2015
Fen photo via the USFS

Fen photo via the USFS

Environmentalists have praised the new rule, calling it an important step that would lead to significantly cleaner natural bodies of water and healthier drinking water.

But it has attracted fierce opposition from several business interests, including farmers, property developers, fertilizer and pesticide makers, oil and gas producers and a national association of golf course owners. Opponents contend that the rule would stifle economic growth and intrude on property owners’ rights.

Republicans in Congress point to the rule as another example of what they call executive overreach by the Obama administration. Already, they are advancing legislation on Capitol Hill meant to block or delay the rule.

Gina McCarthy, above, the E.P.A. administrator, who is expected to release the final version of a new rule intended to protect the nation’s drinking water this week.

More Environmental Protection Agency coverage here.


EPA: Over 1,000,000 people gave us comments on our Clean Water Rule, incl. fishermen, hunters, small business, farmers, & scientists

May 19, 2015

EPA: May is American Wetlands Month

May 7, 2015

@EPAwater: Check out this incredible images of algal blooms taken from space

May 1, 2015

The rivers that benefited from Clean Water Act is like a copy of America’s 100 Best Trout Streams — @EPAwater

April 29, 2015


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