Coalition Report

By Alicia Claire Lloyd,
Clean Water Policy Coordinator
Missouri Coalition
For The Environment

It’s All Connected: Pollution in Small Streams Leads to Big Problems

Missouri is a river rich state. From “the Big Muddy” Missouri River to the nationally designated “Wild and Scenic” Eleven Point River, Missouri is home to extremely valuable water resources for industry, agriculture, swimming, fishing, and floating. However, many are polluted and countless more are added to our state’s impaired waters list every year. This pollution creates dangerous conditions for people and pets who come in contact with these waters and critically threaten the fish and aquatic life who call them home. Protecting our water resources not only ensures Missourians can safely experience the nature we enjoy, our health depends on it. If implemented as planned, the Clean Water Protection Rule proposed by the U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers would deliver essential protections to the rivers, streams and lakes that provide drinking water to 1 in 3 Americans.

The phrase “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) has been the source of much
controversy and confusion for decades. The CWA was designed not just to
protect our nation’s big rivers, but tributary rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands.

These connected waterways make up the critical network that transports water throughout their watersheds and, ultimately, into the Missouri and Mississippi rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico. Over 30 years after the creation of the CWA, the EPA and the Corps have collaborated and considered an abundance of input from the public and
stakeholders, including feedback from over 400 public meetings and over one million comments, to produce a rule clarifying which rivers, streams and wetlands should be “waters of the U.S.” and therefore, protected.

Just as EPA is set to finalize the rule, efforts to block its implementation and protect special interests at the expense of all Missourians are moving forward in the legislature. The U.S. House passed the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 1732) which, if made into law, would halt the rulemaking process by directing EPA and the Corps to withdraw and recraft the rule. Similar legislation is moving through the Senate, proposed by Missouri’s own Senator Roy Blunt. As legislative attacks threaten to undermine the Clean Water Rule process just weeks before the administration finalizes and publishes it, consider contacting your U.S. Senators to let them know how important clean water and healthy rivers are to you.

Visit www.moenviron.org for more information.