Wildlands Advocates for Thoughtful Industry Policies
Early in 2019, the EPA began a process to rewrite the Clean Water Act definition of Waters of the US by publishing a draft rule for public comment. The proposed rule threatens to significantly curtail the protection afforded under the Act to our Nation’s streams, wetlands, and waterways. Wildlands worked with our state industry group, the NC Environmental Restoration Association, to develop a formal response letter representing our industry’s perspective on the proposed rule. The association’s letter pointed out a number of technical and scientific flaws with the proposed rule. For instance, one stated goal of the rule is to ‘create regulatory certainty for the regulated community’ however there are numerous terms that are introduced in the rule but are undefined and subject to interpretation. We also pointed out significant flaws with the financial impact analysis that is discussed in the proposed rule. As of September 2019, the EPA had announced plans to rescind the 2015 Waters of the US definition that was proposed under the Obama Administration. This is the first step in a stated three prong approach from the Trump Administration to permanently rollback water quality protections under the Clean Water Act. Wildlands is continuing to work with partners at the state and federal levels to limit the impact of such changes on our industry and the water resources we all work to restore and protect.