EPA Takes Action to Conserve Clean Water, Wetlands, Healthy Habitat

News for Immediate Release
Jan. 5, 2023
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262,
[email protected]

Final ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule integrates best available science, public input, conservation values

WASHINGTON – Fish and wildlife – and hunters and anglers – stand to gain following the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to finalize a long-awaited regulation that will restore protections of U.S. wetlands and streams.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers welcomed an announcement by the EPA of the final revised definition of “Waters of the United States” rule, which integrates the best available science and input from the public in a framework that supports healthy habitat, clean water and public health, as well as agricultural activity and economic development. The regulation will be effective 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register.

BHA has consistently advocated for increased protections for critical U.S. waters and wetlands, working alongside partners and allies in the hunting, fishing and conservation communities to advocate for restoring clarity to the federal Clean Water Act. First enacted in 1948 as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Clean Water Act was expanded in 1972 as the governing law safeguarding surface waters in the United States. The EPA is required to implement CWA to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.”

BHA Conservation Director John Gale hailed the administration’s decision as a victory for conservation, fish and wildlife, and hunting and angling.

“Hunters and anglers commend the EPA for advancing strong measures to restore important safeguards to some our nation’s most important streams and wetlands,” Gale stated. “For too long, Waters of the U.S. definitions and the Clean Water Act have been entangled in hyperbolic political theater and litigious attacks – with fish and wildlife paying the price.

“From America’s Duck Factory in the Prairie Pothole Region to the ephemeral and intermittent streams that feed our most important fisheries and supply our drinking water,” continued Gale, “clean water protections like these – first established under the Reagan administration – should be the baseline that we work to improve upon, not tear down under fabricated pretenses.”

Healthy rivers, streams and wetlands are integral to the health of America’s public lands, and a weakened Clean Water Act would have devastating economic consequences for outdoor recreation, which supports $862 billion in consumer spending and 4.5 million jobs in the United States.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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