Clean Water Rules.

Shit runs downhill throughout most of the country. In my neck of the woods (and the rest of the 20% of the country with sedimentary geology and karst topography) shit just runs down, through seasonal stream channels and into the groundwater aquifer, where it’s either sucked up for domestic use or emerges from springs which dot the countryside. All that the water carries which isn’t absorbed by soil organisms- excess nutrients, pesticides, coliform bacteria- comes along for the ride. In addition to the hundreds of species which depend on these headwater surface streams, wetlands, and groundwater habitats, some forty percent of Americans are tapped into underground aquifers.BrooktroutStream

The Obama administration implemented an executive order in 2015, extending EPA protection to
temporary streams and wetlands due to their importance to ecosystem and human health. Yesterday, the new administration announced that in pursuit of jobs, officials would begin unwinding these protections, putting some legislators in the uncomfortable position of advocating policy which could physically sicken the constituents who voted them into office.

If there’s good news it’s bureaucracy moves slow;   the current protections can’t be undone with the stroke of a pen. Complete dissolution could extend beyond the next four years. 




  1. Well said. The administration can defund (or attempt to) the EPA, NPS, Fish & Wildlife, FDA, etc. etc., but they’ll have a fight on their hands. Thanks very much for visiting Under Western Skies. Carry on.

  2. […] Historically, the EPA had jurisdiction over rivers and streams which flow most of the year, and adjacent wetlands which maintained connectivity to permanent streams.  In 2015, the definition of Waters of the United States was broadened to include headwater streams and wetlands which may not flow year round.  You can find more of the back story here. […]

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