Colorado News Connection

August 22, 2017Available files: mp3 wav jpg

Brewers and Anglers to EPA: Keep Headwaters Clean

Eric Galatas

DENVER - Beer makers plan to join forces with outdoor recreation businesses and conservation groups today at the EPA's Denver headquarters.

They're protesting the agency's plan to roll back the 2015 Clean Water Rule.

Tyler Baskfield with the group Trout Unlimited says the move could undermine protections for 20 million acres of wetlands and 60 percent of U.S. streams, which provide drinking water for one in three Americans.

"These streams are important to sportsmen, they're important to business owners, they're important to people who use drinking water here in the state," he says. "And it's a big part of our identity to keep protections on these streams, and keep our livelihood and way of life protected moving forward."

The Obama-era rule clarified which headwaters and wetlands would be protected by the Clean Water Act. In June, EPA chief Scott Pruitt officially kick-started a process to repeal the measure, saying it hinders businesses.

According to E-and-E News, Pruitt recently appeared in an agribusiness video urging farmers and ranchers to submit comments on the proposal.

Baskfield notes the majority of public comments on the Clean Water Rule were in favor of keeping streams, wetlands and headwaters feeding into lakes and rivers clean. He says in Colorado, removing protections could be devastating for trout species that are especially sensitive to pollution.

"It's a big part of what comprises our fisheries, even the fisheries that are lower down depend on these headwaters for sustaining fish populations," he adds.

Last week, the EPA extended the public comment period on its proposal to repeal the Clean Water Rule to September 27.