Victory! In May of 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) finalized the Clean Water Rule to clearly protect the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation's water resources.
The Clean Water Rule clears up confusion resulting from Supreme Court cases in 2001 and 2006, which weakened the Clean Water Act by limiting federal protections over wetlands and small streams. As a result, many wetlands and small streams have been filled, polluted, or destroyed with no legal consequence.
The Clean Water Rule restores Clean Water Act protections that were established in 1972, while removing uncertainty caused by the Supreme Court decisions and providing greater clarity on what waters are protected. The Clean Water Rule restores protections to:
- Streams and wetlands that supply drinking water to 117 million Americans (1-in-3)—including 11.1 million people in New York and 2.4 million people in Connecticut.
- At least 20 million acres of wetlands. More than one-third of the threatened and endangered species in the U.S. live only in wetlands. An acre of wetlands can store up to 1.5 million gallons of floodwater.
- 59% of all stream miles in the continental United States.
The Clean Water Rule is essential to protecting the waters of New York, Connecticut, and the nation. CCE thanks our partners and members that have worked with us for over a decade to restore the Clean Water Act. We now look forward to the rule's swift implementation.
Updated by bsmith 6/29/15