Repealing and weakening the 2015 Clean Water Rule would put the drinking water for 3.5 million people in our state at risk, harm the environment and increase the chance of flooding and water pollution in Tennessee.
But the Trump administration's Environmental Protection Agency under Scott Pruitt has plans to do just that.
Tennessee Clean Water Network Water Policy Director Dana Wright says the proposed changes to the Waters of the United States rule would weaken protections for smaller streams and wetlands that provide drinking water and environmental protection for millions of Tennesseans.
This is an Obama-era rule developed with significant public input, prepared with strong scientific and peer-reviewed research, a rule that consistently draws nationwide support. In its first public comment period before passage, more than 80 percent of the comments received were supportive of its implementation.
But it was an Obama administration rule. So the Trump administration wants to erase it.
Don't be misled by claims from Sen. Lamar Alexander that the new rule was an attempt to regulate Tennessee farmers' mud puddles. He knows agriculture is exempted from the Clean Water Act, and farmers have little to be concerned about. But his claim had a nice conservative ring to it — albeit untrue.
"If the proposed changes are approved, it will only weaken or eliminate protections for Tennessee's smaller streams and wetlands in a state where 60 percent of waters are head-water streams and 60 percent of the state's original wetlands have been lost," Wright says.
The deadline for you, interested citizens, to make a comment on the proposed changes to the 2015 Clean Water Rule is today — by the end of they day.
It's easy to comment on EPA's website, www.regulations.gov/comment?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203-0001.
Make your voice heard. Say "no" to this Trump administration effort to rescind the Waters of the United States EPA rule.