Anglers Vow to Defend Clean Water in Wake of Trump Executive Order on Clean Water Rule

EMERYVILLE, Calif. – Today President Trump signed an executive order that will begin to unravel the protections included in the Clean Water Rule.Finalized in 2015 after an extensive public process, the rule provides protection to nearly 60 percent of the stream miles in the United States. Protecting these headwaters is important not only to anglers, but also to the one in three Americans whose drinking water comes from these important sources.As the administration moves forward in crafting a new rule, expect sportsmen and women to be aggressively involved, making sure that headwater streams and wetlands are protected to ensure clean water and healthy habitat for fish and wildlife.

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In response to the order, Trout Unlimited released the following:

Guy Jeans, Owner, Kern River Fly Fishing Shop & Guide Service, Kernville, CA

“As owner/operator of one of California’s leading fly fishing retailers and guide services, water quality is hugely important to me. Many of my clients want to fish for trout—including the rare native golden trout—in small backcountry streams of the southern Sierra such as Fish Creek, Rattlesnake Creek, and the South Fork of the Kern River. Some of these streams are so small they nearly run dry at times, but trout still thrive there. My ability to provide this experience for my customers is directly dependent on this habitat having cold, clean water.

It’s very disappointing the President would support any action that could hurt America’s trout streams, and angling industry folks like me, especially since he said during his campaign that he supports fishing and hunting in this country. I hope he displays some real leadership here, and protects water quality in headwaters streams and wetlands – our sporting heritage, and my business, depend on it.”

Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited

“Today, President Trump signed an executive order that begins to unravel the protections of the Clean Water Act for small headwater streams.

The Clean Water Rule was finalized in 2015 after more than one million public comments and extensive scientific review. It provides protection to streams and rivers including 60 percent of the stream miles in the U.S. that flow seasonally. Protecting these headwaters is important not only to anglers, but also to the one in three Americans whose drinking water comes from small seasonal streams.

The Executive Order directs the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA to rescind and revise the Clean Water Rule. It also directs the agencies to use former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s minority opinion that said seasonal streams do not merit protection, as a basis for the revision.

If Justice Scalia’s direction is followed, 60 percent of U.S. streams and 20 million acres of wetlands would lose protection of the Clean Water Act; an unmitigated disaster for fish and wildlife, hunting and fishing, and clean water.

Sportsmen and women have a simple question for the President and EPA Administrator Pruitt: are we going forward or backward on clean water? Today’s announcement is a big step back. Legally, scientifically, and logically a reliance on Justice Scalia’s opinion is wrong-headed—but there’s still time, working through the new rulemaking process, to make it right.

When the new Administration replaces the Clean Water Rule, it must listen to the voices of tens of millions of sportsmen and women who want more clean water, more fish and wildlife habitat, and more hunting and angling opportunities. The Trump Administration can change direction on this Rule but they can’t change the fact that clean water is not a political issue. It is a basic right of every American.

Gravity works cheap, and it never takes a day off. The Administration cannot stop water flowing downhill—and we all live downstream. To be effective, the Clean Water Act must be able to control pollution at its source, upstream in the headwaters and wetlands that flow downstream through communities to our major lakes, rivers, and bays. The Administration’s action places the health of 60 percent of the stream miles in the U.S. at risk. Trout Unlimited intends to work with our hundreds of thousands of members and supporters to reverse course on this misguided direction.”

Rene Henery, PhD, California Science Director, Trout Unlimited

“The importance of small headwaters streams, even those that may be seasonal or flow intermittently, to cold water fisheries cannot be overstated. Such waters provide important habitat for trout and salmon in multiple life stages, and are vital for productive habitat conditions downstream. These waters are also the source for drinking water and other human uses throughout the watershed. Ensuring that Clean Water Act protections apply to such waters is consistent with current science, and is one of the most important things we can do to foster productive trout and salmon fisheries.”About Trout Unlimited –
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation.


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