WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chairman of the Senate Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) for their joint proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands.
“The health and safety of America’s waters have been at risk while Congress debated a legislative fix to recent Supreme Court decisions. By restoring the pre-SWANCC jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the EPA and Army Corps have done the right thing by bringing certainty to various regulated sectors of our economy that had been asking EPA for a rule to fix to their regulatory limbo,” said Senator Cardin.
“The importance of the disputed streams and wetlands is on display every day in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The shoreline of the Chesapeake and its tidal tributaries stretch for over 2,000 miles and more than 100,000 streams and rivers and thousands of acres of wetlands provide the freshwater that flows into the Bay. If we do not protect the health of this incredible network of waters, we cannot hope to restore the Chesapeake to its former health.
“Perhaps, what is most important to understand are the types of waters and activities that this rule does not apply to. Farmers in the Chesapeake Bay region have made tremendous strides to reduce nutrient and sediment runoff from their operations, and this rule exempts more than 53 agricultural conservation practices will not be subject to Clean Water Act permitting. Moreover, the rule does not protect any new types of waters that have not historically been protected under the Clean Water Act and will effectively curb Army Corps regulators from making jurisdictional determinations on certain ephemeral and intermittent ditches.”