May 27, 2015
On May 27, 2015 EPA finalized a rule under the Clean Water Act that will better protect drinking water supplies, streams and certain wetlands. The protections had been eroded during the past several years through two Supreme Court cases.
The Rule clarifies that headwater streams and adjacent wetlands are covered under the Clean Water Act. This is very important because headwater streams are indispensable for providing water for public drinking supplies, irrigation, livestock, industry, and fish and wildlife resources. Our mountain streams are the starting point for several major river systems, including the Colorado, Arkansas, Rio Grande, and Platte Rivers. Destruction or pollution of streams, even if they only flow seasonally, can cause major downstream impacts. It is important to note that the proposed rule keeps or expands exemptions and exclusions for farming, forestry, and ranching.
The House has passed a bill (H.R.1732) that would stop the rulemaking and a bill pending in the Senate (S.1140) would scrap the rule as require a new rulemaking process.
Here is a link to the OpEd in the Denver Post on June 12 by Tim mauck, Clear Creek County Commissioner and Dan Gibbs, Summit County Commissioner: