WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, eight sportsmen’s groups representing hundreds of thousands of hunters and anglers sent Senators a letter opposing the “Federal Water Quality Protection Act,” which would derail the Clean Water Rule, produced to clarify protections for headwaters and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Sen. John Barrasso’s S.1140, which the Senate will vote on Tuesday afternoon, would also remove protections for some waters already covered by the Act. The letter—signed by the American Fisheries Society, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, International Federation of Fly Fishers, Izaak Walton League of America, National Wildlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Trout Unlimited—urges Senators to vote down the bill, because it would force the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to restart the rulemaking process, putting valuable fish and waterfowl habitat at risk in the meantime.
The letter highlights a recent poll, which found that 83 percent of sportsmen and women think the Clean Water Act should apply to smaller streams and wetlands, as the new Clean Water Rule directs. These resources impact drinking water for one in three Americans, protect communities from flooding, and provide essential fish and wildlife habitat that supports a robust outdoor recreation economy. “The sportfishing industry accounts for 828,000 jobs, nearly $50 billion annually in retail sales, and an economic impact of about $115 billion every year that relies on access to clean water,” the letter says. “The Clean Water Rule will translate directly to an improved bottom line for America’s outdoor industry.”
In a separate letter to lawmakers, sportsmen’s groups opposed a Congressional Review Act resolution that would invalidate the Clean Water Rule and prevent any future attempts to craft a rule. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa has called for the use of Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the ability to overturn agency actions using special rules that bypass the normal legislative process. In effect, this would substitute the judgment of Congress for the deliberate and thorough multi-year public rulemaking process that produced the Clean Water Rule. Congress may proceed to Ernst’s resolution after tomorrow’s vote.
Learn more about these attacks and other threats to clean water here. Sportsmen can contact their lawmakers in support of better protection for headwaters and wetlands here.