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E-M:/ KUDOS to 7 Michigan Congressional Reps on Clean Water Act Defense!

Enviro-Mich message from "Your Name" <woiwode@voyager.net>

Enviro-Mich folks -- Particular thanks needs to go to John Dingell, 
along with Congressional Reps Conyers, Ehlers, Levin, Kildee, 
Kilpatrick, and Stupak, for their request to the Bush Administration 
to protect the Clean Water Act provisions that assure small streams 
and wetlands are protected.  MANY THANKS to this Congressional 

For immediate release		Contact:  Ed Hopkins 202-675-7908
November 25, 2003			Anne Woiwode 517-484-2372

Michigan Members of Congress Act to Protect Clean Water

Seven Michigan Members of Congress joined 211 of their colleagues in 
asking President Bush not to change 30-year-old Clean Water Act rules 
to eliminate protection for small streams and wetlands.  The House 
members sent the “Dear Colleague” letter to the President today.

The letter challenges the Bush administration’s initiative to limit 
the scope of the Clean Water Act.  In January, the Bush administration 
issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that asked for comment 
on whether Clean Water Act protections should apply to waters that 
are “isolated,” non-navigable and contained wholly within a state.  At 
the same time, the administration instructed the EPA and Army Corps of 
Engineers not to enforce the Clean Water Act for these waters without 
first seeking permission from headquarters.  The EPA said that 
protections could be eliminated for up to 20 million acres of wetlands 
outside Alaska. Without current protections, the wetlands and small 
streams would be vulnerable to pollution from increased development, 
industrial uses, mining and waste disposal.

“Our nation has made tremendous gains in cleaning up our lakes, rivers 
and streams since the 1970s, but the Bush administration’s actions 
threaten to reverse the progress,” said Anne Woiwode, Michigan 
Director of the Sierra Club. “We are particularly grateful to 
Representative John Dingell, who helped initiate this letter, for 
sending the Bush administration a wake-up call: ‘don’t weaken the 
Clean Water Act.’” Michigan Representatives John Conyers, Vernon 
Ehlers, Dale Kildee, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Sander Levin and Bart Stupak 
also signed the letter.

According to Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality, an 
estimated 271,534 acres of small wetland have virtually no protection 
under either state or federal law based on the Bush administration’s 
guidance. In addition, the DEQ warned that, without federal 
protections, waters that Michigan residents depend upon could be 
harmed by lack of protections in neighboring states.    
Protecting headwater streams and wetlands is essential to safeguarding 
drinking water supplies, mitigating floods, making water safe for 
fishing and swimming, and protecting habitat for threatened and 
endangered species and migratory birds.  Recognizing the potential 
harm the Bush administration’s rulemaking could cause, 39 of the 42 
state environmental agencies that commented on the Advance Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking were critical of reducing the scope of protected 

A draft rule change, recently leaked to Los Angeles Times, suggests 
the scope of the Bush administration’s changes to clean water rules.  
The draft rule eliminates protections for streams that do not flow for 
more than six months of the year and are not fed by groundwater; 
streams created by snowmelt or rainfall; waters that generate 
interstate commerce through birdwatching, hunting and fishing and 
other recreation; waters used for industrial purposes; and waters that 
provide habitat to endangered species.  

“Changes the Bush administration is considering are inconsistent with 
the original purpose of the Clean Water Act, misinterpret court 
rulings, and certainly fail the most basic tests of scientific 
understanding of our waters,” said Woiwode.  “Continued Congressional 
oversight is essential to protecting America’s waters.”

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