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Clean water is fundamental to our health and our way of life. For nearly 50 years, the Clean Water Act has promised that all Americans have access to clean water for drinking and recreation and that our country's most valuable natural assets are protected from pollution.

However, on December 11, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposal that would severely reduce the scope of the Clean Water Act. This proposal would remove up to 20% of stream miles and up to 50% of wetland acres from federal protections under the Clean Water Act. This is a historic step backward for our nation's access to clean water and would pile the responsibility of protecting waterways onto state agencies that are already stretched thin.

In Virginia, the rollback will mean less Federal assistance for programs to protect smaller streams and forested wetlands, karst areas, and vernal pools. It will also impact the habitat of migratory birds that pass through Virginia, which depend on the conservation of all wetlands up and down their migration.

We have come too far to go back now. Life without the Clean Water Act is not a place we want to revisit. This is why our organizations have come together to ask you for your help.

Tell the Environmental Protection Agency how valuable the Clean Water Act is to our health and way of life. Tell them now is not the time to cut back on clean water protections. We need more -- not less -- protection of our waterways.

Dear Administrator Andrew Wheeler:

I write to you in opposition to the proposed changes to the definition of Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) currently being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Since its passage in 1972, this law has kept billions of pounds of toxic pollutants out of America's rivers, lakes, and wetlands -- there is absolutely no reason to change course now.

This proposed rule would remove Clean Water Act protections from the most vulnerable waterways, including pristine headwater streams that are home to Virginia's state fish, the brook trout, and many freshwater wetlands that provide critical breeding habitat for ducks and other waterfowl. Headwater streams also supply reliable drinking water to nearly one third of Americans, and wetlands reduce dangerous flooding and mitigate sea level rise.

Science and experience have taught us that it is much easier and more cost effective to keep pollution out of our waterways by protecting upstream source waters instead of cleaning polluted rivers downstream. This is why I demand that the Environmental Protection Agency keeps the Clean Water Act strong, ensuring our nation's waterways remain protected for years to come.

Organized by:
Piedmont Environmental Council
James River Association
Potomac Riverkeeper Network
Virginia League of Conservation Voters
National Wildlife Federation
Waterkeepers Chesapeake
Clean Fairfax
Audubon Naturalist Society
Potomac Conservancy
Virginia Conservation Network
Appalachian Voices

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