Haw River monitor in Support of EPA Waterway Proposal

Elaine Chiosso, Haw Riverkeeper, is one of those local people who are in support of the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) proposed regulation for the clarification of protection as laid down in the Clean Water Act for wetlands and streams all over the nation.

On Thursday, Chiosso participated in a panel discussion at The Eddy Pub for a discussion pertaining to the rule jointly proposed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA on 25th March. The matter is till now in consideration in Washington.

As stated by the EPA, determination of Clean Water Act protection with respect to wetlands and streams turned complicated and confusing following decisions taken by the Supreme Court in the years 2001 and 2006. The issue is being clarified by the proposed rule.

According to Chiosso, this rule would offer Clean Water Act protection for little headwater streams and remote wetlands that are in the running condition only when there is rainfall. Such bodies can turn out to be conduits for pollution and may have major consequences, if ignored. Chiosso explains that if these natural resources are not protected, it would be equivalent to removing an entire cover within what goes to make clean water.

The EPA reveals that, around 60 percent of streams in the nation have seasonal flow or run only after the rainy season, but considerably affect the downstream waters. Around 117 million people across the nation rely on public systems for drinking water and these public systems are partly dependent on the streams.

The recommended rule safeguards the Clean Water Act exclusions and exemptions with respect to agriculture. N.C. Wildlife Federation’s Bob Brown said during the panel discussion that there was considerable amount of push back with respect to the proposed rule, so far as the agriculture community is concerned. Brown described it as a minor alteration in the depiction of the US waters as covered by the Clean Water Act. He earnestly requested the people to render support to the recommended rule.

Ethan Case, Coordinator, N.C. Business Council clarified that if the proposed rule is adopted, it would assist the business community also. The panel was sponsored by the council, the Eddy Pub, TS Designs and American Sustainable Business Council.

Eric Henry, President, TS Designs mentioned that protection of water is of immense significance as water is the society’s life blood. He also persuaded the public to lend their support to the proposed rule.

The discussion was also attended by Ross Flynn of Left Bank Butchery, Mac Jordan of Jordan Properties, Jeff Barney of the Saxapahaw General Store, Doug Williams of Saxapahaw Rivermill and Ben Woodward of Haw River Farmhouse, all of whom expressed their support for this rule.

On 31st July, Kay Hagan, US Senator, became one among the 13 senators to sign a letter that was addressed to the EPA, US Department of Agriculture and US Department of the Army.

In the letter, Hagan explained that she wished to ensure that the recommended jurisdictional regulation as well as the interpretive regulation does not pose any unintended consequences on agriculture and conservation practices.

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