Thank you for your effort to clarify which waters of the United States are protected under the Clean Water Act and for restoring a common sense approach to protecting our nation's lakes, rivers, and streams. Clean water is an undeniable necessity for the health of our families, our environment, and our economy-- not to mention our enjoyment. And as your agencies have recognized with this rule, ensuring the protection of bodies of water upstream is vital to keeping pollution out of our waters downstream.
I strongly support the effort of the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers and urge them to finalize a rule that is protective of all streams and wetlands -- including wetlands outside of floodplains -- that directly influence the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the nation's rivers, lakes and bays.
For the past decade, there has been confusion over which streams and wetlands are covered by the Clean Water Act because of polluter-friendly court decisions and subsequent Bush administration policies. This confusion has put the drinking water of over 117 million people at risk. One in three Americans relies on public drinking water supplies that are fed by polluted headwater or seasonally-flowing streams.
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To protect Americans' drinking water, health, and recreation opportunities, we must protect all of America's wetlands and waterways. Today's rule will help make that possible. I applaud the efforts of the EPA and USACE and urge them to finalize a strong rule as quickly as possible.