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E-M:/ Broad Backlash Prompts Bush Reversal on Misguided Water Rule



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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne M. Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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THANK YOU TO ALL MICHIGANDERS WHO PROTESTED THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S
PROPOSED UNDERCUTTING OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT PROTECTION FOR WETLANDS!!


Subject: Broad Backlash Prompts Bush Reversal on Misguided Water Rule


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 16, 2003

CONTACT:
Eric Antebi    415-977-5747


       BROAD BACKLASH PROMPTS BUSH REVERSAL ON MISGUIDED WATER RULE

Administration Fails to Rescind Guidance Discouraging Enforcement of
Clean
                             Water Protections


                Statement of Carl Pope, Executive Director


"One year ago, the Bush administration made a gross miscalculation by
proposing a rule change to remove Clean Water Act protections from 20
million acres of wetlands and a majority of the nation's streams.  A
strong
and growing backlash from states, sportsmen, and even a strongly
bipartisan
majority of Congressmen left the Bush administration with little choice
but
to rescind its misguided proposal, as it quietly did with an
announcement
today at 5:00PM EST.

"Today's reversal is a telling reminder of how listening only to special
corporate interests leaves the Bush administration wildly out of touch
with
a broad range of public opinion, not to mention sound science.

"Continuing to protect small streams and wetlands is essential to filter
pollution from our drinking water sources, maintain water quality in our
lakes and rivers, and provide habitat to fish, waterfowl and other
wildlife.  The Bush administration's efforts to remove protection from
small streams and wetlands would have reversed thirty years of progress
in
cleaning up our lakes, rivers and coastal waters.

"Mining companies, developers and oil companies sought this change in
clean
water rules because it would have been easier for them to dispose of
their
waste and fill in wetlands if there were no government oversight.  But
polluting these small streams and wetlands would have inevitably meant
dirtier water downstream, more flooding, and fewer recreational
opportunities for hunters, anglers and others who depend upon clean
water.
Once again the Bush administration was on track to allow polluters to
benefit at our expense.

"In addition to reversing its proposed rule change on wetlands, the
Sierra
Club also calls on the Bush administration to remove its guidance
discouraging enforcement of clean water protections for wetlands and
small
streams.  On January 15 of this year, the Bush administration instructed
Army Corps of Engineers and EPA staff not to enforce rules governing
small
wetlands and streams without first obtaining permission from
headquarters.
Putting the environmental cop back on the beat is especially critical
given
broader concerns about environmental enforcement, which, according to a
recent Knight Ridder analysis, has 'plummeted' under the current
administration. Today's EPA press release did not indicate whether the
guidance would be rescinded."

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