Clean Waters of the US Dear Colleague

Protect our Country's Waterways
From: The Honorable John D. Dingell
Sent By: [email protected]
Date: 11/22/2013
Tell EPA to Protect our Country’s Waterways
Deadline: Friday, December 13
Current Signers: Dingell, Moran, Slaughter, Schneider, Van Hollen, Alcee Hastings, Castor,
Quigley, Conyers, McCollum, Levin, Blumenauer, Grijalva, Pocan, Frederica Wilson, Connolly,
Holt, Lee, Huffman, Susan Davis, Schiff, Speier, Cartwright, Tsongas, Nadler, Cohen,
Schakowsky, Langevin, Eshoo, Capps, Sarbanes, Pallone, Lofgren, Rangel, Bobby Scott,
DeLauro, Carolyn Maloney, Clay, Cicilline, Waxman, Israel, Waters, Capuano, Chu, Tonko,
Lipinski, Kennedy, Hank Johnson, Shea-Porter, Watt, Honda, Ellison, Rush, Moore, Gary Peters,
Edwards, Ruppersberger, Pascrell, Schwartz, DeGette, Esty, Meeks, Scott Peters, Adam Smith,
O’Rourke, Holmes Norton
Dear Colleague:
Please join us in sending a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging them to
move quickly in proposing a rule to protect our nation’s waterways. Tens of millions of
Americans depend on the health of our rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, and coastal waters for
drinking water, recreation, and their livelihoods and our message is clear that the EPA must act
to protect those resources.
Recent decisions by the Supreme Court have cast uncertainty over EPA’s jurisdiction under the
Clean Water Act. A rule clarifying that role would provide certainty to small businesses,
families, farmers, ranchers, and industry regarding the important role the Clean Water Act has in
protecting water resources.
If you have any questions or would like to sign on, please contact Neal Ullman in Rep. Dingell’s
office at 5-4071 or [email protected]
John D. Dingell
Member of Congress
James P. Moran
Member of Congress
Louise M. Slaughter
Member of Congress
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
As members of the United States House of Representatives, we urge you to swiftly propose a
rule to restore protections to all of our nation’s waterways. For the sake of our communities and
the prospects of having waterways clean enough to swim in, fish from, and drink from, we must
have a rule that protects all waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act, and we need
your leadership to make that vision a reality.
Last year we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, which has been one of the
most significant environmental laws in our nation’s history. As was said on the floor of the
House in 1972, “the conference bill defines the term ‘navigable waters’ broadly for water quality
purposes. It means all ‘the waters of the United States’ in a geographical sense. It does not mean
the ‘navigable waters of the United States’ in the technical sense as we sometimes see in some
laws.” This definition protected our country’s precious waterways by safeguarding our drinking
water, alleviating flooding conditions, providing recreational opportunities, maintaining fish and
wildlife habitat, and promoting a healthy economy.
However, two Supreme Court decisions – Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers and Rapanos v. the United States – have created significant
uncertainty regarding federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. According to the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these decisions have left almost 60 percent of our
country’s streams, at least 20 million acres of wetlands, and the drinking water for 117 million
Americans at increased risk of pollution.
We are encouraged by EPA’s commitment to follow sound science through their recent science
report, which illustrates the significant relationship between tributaries and wetlands and the
larger bodies of water into which they feed. EPA must continue to move this process forward
swiftly and efficiently to prevent more pollution from entering our waterways.
As you have said, “We must ensure that water – so critical to human health, quality of life, and
economic activity – is protected from dangerous contaminants, including new, emerging ones.”
We call on EPA to continue to prioritize a rulemaking to restore protections to all of our
waterways. We stand ready to work with you and your Administration to help America on a
path to a future where all our waterways are protected from dangerous pollution. Thank you for
your support and leadership.