Clean water is essential to our health, our economy, and our way of life. And the Clean Water Act of 1972 is both an environmental success story and one of America’s greatest economic triumphs. Back in the 1970s, 2 out of 3 of our nation’s waterways were polluted. Today, 2 out of 3 are healthy. Cleaning up pollution boosts our economy—by creating jobs, lowering health care costs, and clearing the way for commerce.
That’s why we have to make sure the Clean Water Act works the way it’s supposed to. But right now, 60 percent of our nation’s streams and wetlands lack clear protection and 1 in 3 Americans get their drinking water from sources at risk. So earlier this year, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed a rule to safeguard the clean water we all depend on.
Today marks the end of an extensive public comment period on our proposed rule—more than 200 days long—during which we held more than 400 meetings with stakeholders and received over a million comments on our proposal.
EPA and the Army Corps appreciate everyone’s input on the rule, and we want you to know we’re listening. We heard a variety of views.
Many brewers and business owners stressed the economic importance of clean water to their operations. Hunters and anglers reinforced that clean water is essential to recreation and tourism. Faith groups shared that clean water is central to protecting our most vulnerable citizens.
Others expressed reservations about our proposal. Some in the agriculture community raised concerns that our proposal will regulate water on their property, making it harder for them to do business. That’s not at all our intent, and we’ve been working with them to address their concerns in the final version.
We appreciate everyone who engaged with EPA. Whether they supported the proposal or wanted changes, their voices were heard and their input will help shape the final rule. That’s how this process works. By offering a draft rule and taking public comments into account, EPA and the Army Corps are considering all viewpoints and will come up with a final version that’s strong and workable. Everyone’s perspectives matter to us.
Over the coming weeks, EPA and the Army Corps will work through the comments we’ve received and decide how best to incorporate them into a final rule. We appreciate your input, and we encourage you to stay tuned.