Sunday, March 19, 2017
Killing The Clean Water Act: A Sportsmen's Nightmare
With newly elected Trump as President and the GOP controlling Congress and 60 % Republican governors, I wrote an opinion piece for the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association, of which I am a longtime member and newsletter editor extolling the new powers that be extreme bias against clean air, water and soil, the scam to transfer our public lands to the states and the eventual inevitable sale to private interests, yada, yada. Since this isn’t my first rodeo I hardly expected the entire NOWA membership to stand-up and cheer. But since we are ya know supposed to be OUTDOOR WRITERS/PHOTOGRAPHERS/OUTDOOR FILM MAKERS n RADIO BROADCASTERS, etc.—you can imagine my surprise at the outrage some expressed. Calling me, among other nasty tags, an extreme left-wing Cool Aid guzzler. Imagine. Anyone who knows me knows I not only hate Cool Aid, strongly favor bourbon, I also have no time for any politician left, right, upside down, inside out or otherwise who does not strongly support the few issues matter to me—clean air, water and soil, sound wildlife/fisheries and habitat management, leave your grubby paws off my public lands and don’t even think of blocking access to same.
Sorry folks, I am way too old to fret the rest of it.
So ya name callin’ jerks, we’re now but two months into it and hardly a day passes without another blow to protections for the air we breath, the water we, the fish and wildlife drink; the public lands we hunt and fish, camp, bike, hike, bird watch, you name it, no permission needed, just park the truck and go; our National Parks, Monuments and Wildlife Refuges, from the Trump and/or his GOP congressional enablers.
“But the real haymaker came the week before when President Trump ordered his administration to begin rolling back the Clean Water Rule, an Obama Administration initiative supported by sportsmen, conservation groups, and public health officials. Also known as The Waters of the U.S. rule—Trump labeled it a “horrible, horrible rule—has such a nice name, but everything about it is bad, “and was “one of the worst examples of federal regulation” and “a massive power grab.”
“To the contrary is among the most vetted, scientifically sound, careful examples of rulemaking in the nation’s history.” Some believe it is so sound Trump’s allies might spend years trying to dismantle it—and still fail.
“In truth his action is nothing but a unabashed gift to a few supporters which is sure to hurt t a majority of Americans—especially sportsmen. If passed it will remove protections for more than 20 million acres of wetlands critical to a wide range of wildlife from trout to waterfowl; as well as, 60 percent of the nation’s streams, and affect safe drinking water for more than 100 million Americans.”
Below is a brief history of how the Clean Water Act came to be.
The 1972 Clean Water Act included protections for wetlands as well as streams and lakes—including entire watersheds and aquifers. The agencies—EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers—extended protections to include isolated and seasonal wetlands—prairie potholes, riparian areas, etc.—proven contributors to the overall health of watersheds and aquifers.
But as we sportsmen know all too well, the crooked bastards don’t give up easily. “And in 2006 the Supreme Court sided with a developer and threw out regulations on isolated and temporary wetlands, claiming Congress did not specifically include those habitats in the original ACT. The majority opinion said such wetlands could only be protected if a “nexus” existed between those and regular flowing waterways – the waters of the United States.