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Action call #1

The threat–Waters of the US are in peril

EPA Administrator Pruitt has begun the process of undoing the 2015 WOTUS (Waters Of The United States) rule, which protects the drinking water consumed by 117 million Americans. EPA is calling for comments on their proposal to “re-codify” the existing rule.  By “re-codifying,” they would change the definition of Waters of the United States so as to exclude small streams and wetlands from the protection of the 1972 Clean Water Act.  Comments on this Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203 must be received by September 27.


The 2015 WOTUS rule was developed following years of careful, open effort that included 1200 peer-reviewed scientific studies and hundreds of hearings.  It is based on the undeniable fact that smaller (including some intermittent and ephemeral) bodies of water are the headwaters of the perennial rivers and lakes that constitute our supply of water for drinking, recreation, and economic development.  These water bodies must therefore be included in the protections of the 1972 Clean Water Act.

The WOTUS rule only protects waters that have been historically covered under the Clean Water Act.  It does not interfere with private property rights, and it only covers water – not land use.

Without this rule, as many as one in three Americans would get drinking water from sources that lack clear protection from pollution.  That is surely not a situation that our government would wish to create.

What you can do:

Submit comments (by September 27), opposing the proposal to re-codify the 2015 WOTUS rule and urging EPA to leave the rule alone.  See Background, above, for arguments you may wish to use.

Submittal instructions: Go to https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203-0001. Type your comments (including your name and address, if you wish), then click ‘Continue,’ which will bring up ‘Preview.’  Enter your e-mail address in the space provided.  You will receive confirmation of receipt of your comments, including a tracking number.

Action call #2

The threat: Antiquities Act and public lands and waters under attack

On April 26, Pres. Trump ordered Interior Secretary Zinke to review all lands and waters designated as national monuments by the past three presidents, i.e., going back to 1992 – that’s a total of 28. Experts believe that the initial targets are areas that the fossil-fuel industry has been wishing to exploit, especially Bears Ears, designated during the last weeks of the Obama presidency, and Grand Staircase-Escalante, protected by Pres. Bill Clinton in 1996.

Beyond these specific targets, what is at stake is the valuable Antiquities Act, which has been respected and well-used by presidents for more than a century.  Now we have an administration and Congress intent on fossil-fuel development on public lands and waters, and a supreme court that might allow what has never been even requested; the de-listing of national monuments.


Starting with Teddy Roosevelt, 16 presidents have used the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect some of our most important landscapes, as well as unique Native American and other cultural sites as national monuments, for the enjoyment of ALL people. (National monuments have also become drivers of the huge outdoor recreation economy.)  Many national monuments subsequently became national parks (e.g., the Grand Canyon, Acadia, Zion).

The Trump administration is now intent on abolishing these protections and attacking the process.

What you can do:

The deadline for public comments has passed, and the 120 days Sec. Zinke had for his review are almost over.  (He has already made the interim recommendation that Bears Ears be reduced.)  Now is the time to tell our members of Congress to take a stand.

Strongly urge your representative and your senators (see Political Guide link at top of this page) to reject all efforts to eliminate or shrink our national monuments or to roll back their protections.  Our natural wonders and our history are not negotiable; they should remain protected for future generations to enjoy.




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Political Guide

Not sure which government representative you should contact? Consult this Political Guide