The Trump administration has proposed widespread rollbacks to clean water protections, jeopardizing wetlands and drinking water for nearly half a million Mainers and millions of Americans. Submit a public comment opposing the rollbacks by April 15.
A proposed rules change by the Trump administration would gut protections for 60% of the nation’s waterways, potentially exposing one-third of the nation’s water supply to pesticide runoff and pollutants. Known as the “Dirty Water Rule,” Trump’s proposal would drastically restrict the types of waterways protected by the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA), removing protections for wetlands, streams, and tributaries that were added to the CWA by President Barack Obama through the 2015 Clean Water Rule. Waterways protected by the 2015 rule supply drinking water to nearly 500,000 Mainers. The rule also preserves critical habitat for Maine’s native brook trout and many other fish and wildlife and protects smaller wetlands that help guard against flooding and filter out pollution before it gets into larger downstream waters. This latest proposal is the second of a two-step process to rollback water protections. In summer 2017, Trump issued a proposal to repeal the the Clean Water Rule, reverting definitions of waterways covered by the Clean Water Act to those in place before the 2015 rule was passed. That final rule is pending. This proposal would redefine the types of waterways afforded federal protection, removing safeguards for ephemeral streams, which flow after rainfalls or snow melts, and wetlands that are not adjacent to major bodies of water or do not directly drain into them via a surface water channel. The move is opposed by many in Maine, including local business owners.
- Submit a public comment opposing the revised definition of waters of the United States in the Clean Water Act. You can submit your comment directly to Regulations.Gov or through this Natural Resources Council of Maine form. Deadline is April 15.
Public comments are most effective when they are put into your own words. Use these talking points, from the Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Clean Water for All Campaign, to help you craft your comment. If you, your family, or your business would be negatively affected to rollbacks of existing water protections, add those to your comment.
- Nearly 500,000 Mainers drink water from waterways protected under the current rule. Protecting small streams and wetlands is critical to keeping these water supplies.
- The 2015 Clean Water Rule restored protections to 1,264 miles of streams that feed into Maine’s drinking water sources.
- According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife recreation in Maine generated $1.4 billion for the state, including $372 million on fishing.
- Small Maine breweries rely on clean water. These businesses contribute almost $328 million to Maine’s economy every year and support more than 3,400 jobs.
- Maine lakes generate $3.5 billion annually and sustain 52,000 jobs. Many of these lakes are fed by streams that would lose protection under Trump’s proposal.
- Maine has more cold water brook trout habitat than the rest of the Eastern U.S. combined. Current protections are vital to preserving the streams where the fish live.
- Streams and wetlands act as natural filters and sponges, keeping drinking water clean and absorbing floodwaters.