I am opposed to any and all efforts to eliminate clean water protections for waterbodies that are held in the public trust for the people of our state and our country. EPA's plan to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) is a disaster waiting to happen. Already we have issues with companies illegally polluting our public trust waters. Gutting the Clean Water Act would allow industry to freely pollute our water and lead us back in time to those pre-CWA days when waterways were unprotected from polluters.
Water is life...for humans and wildlife. It provides many benefits to communities, from safe, affordable drinking water, to recreation and jobs, but only if it is clean and healthy. Eliminating federal clean water protections endangers all of these benefits. Without the Clean Water Act protections that have been in place for more than 40 years, states may allow powerful industry interests to pollute waterways, harming nearby and downstream communities.
Waterways are connected, pollution moves downstream and we ALL live downstream where we will feel its impacts...endangering our people, communities, drinking water, recreation, and economies. Even streams that only flow seasonally are important. That's particularly true in the Carolinas where our Carolina Bays serve as hotbeds for biological diversity and have important ecological functions. Limiting the scope of the Clean Water Act to just “large bodies of water capable of serving as pathways for interstate commerce,” diminishes the many uses and benefits of all waterbodies that we all enjoy.
Our communities will suffer if the Clean Water Act is gutted by EPA. Not only will the benefits of clean and healthy waterways be eliminated, the costs of industrial pollution will be borne by the people and not by the polluters. This will have devastating impacts on our lives, health and livelihoods. Reducing clean water protections by redefining WOTUS will not create jobs – in fact, it will imperil jobs that rely on safe, clean water. I ask you to maintain Clean Water Act protections for historically protected waterways and, in so doing, to protect the people and places we love.
Clean water is a right and it must be EPA’s goal to provide the maximum clean water protections to our communities. I oppose any attempt to rewrite the WOTUS definition to reduce jurisdiction of the federal Clean Water Act from historic levels. Don't fail us. Protect clean water today.
Winyah Rivers Foundation, Inc.