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We need your voice to protect clean water and healthy rivers.

Stand for Clean Water

In the desert, awe is created when that dry arroyo or wash you drive past every day bursts to life with a late summer thunderstorm. It may flow only for a few hours or a couple days, but the water and sediment that is transported downstream brings life to everything it touches along the way.

The quality of that water is vital to nourishing the willows, the cottonwoods, the geese and the passing bobcat. It is also critical when it reaches our rivers and becomes the water we serve our children and that grows our food.

We need your voice to protect clean water and healthy rivers.

Trump’s new water rule disregards the connectivity and integrity of our watersheds and provides a blanket handout to industry to destroy, fill, and pollute the rivers, creeks, wetlands, arroyos, acequias, ciénegas, and streams imperative to this arid region.

Tell your story today. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is taking public comment on Trump’s destructive water rule until April 15, 2019.

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The most effective way to speak out for clean water and oppose Trump’s new dirty water rule is to write personalized comments on the proposed rule. Tell the agencies how the rule will impact clean water where you live, work, and play and why you oppose the rule. To help you make your case, here are some general talking points:

  • The proposed rule would eliminate entire categories of waterways from the protections afforded by the Clean Water Act, threatening the water you use to drink, grow your food, fish, and recreate. Categories of excluded waterways include: interstate waters, ephemeral streams or other isolated waters, non-adjacent wetlands, ditches, “upland” waters, and groundwater.
  • The proposed rule disproportionately impacts the western United States by eliminating the Clean Water Act’s protections from most waterways and wetlands in New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.
  • The proposed rule undermines the science supporting an interconnected watershed approach to protect water quality and riparian habitat. More than half of waterways (60 percent) in the United States are ephemeral—meaning water only flows in these creeks or streams for a portion of the year—but these waterways contribute significant flows and nutrients to our major rivers.
  • In Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and California ephemeral streams make up 81 percent of waterways. These creeks are the headwaters and major tributaries of perennial streams that we rely on to ensure quality water for drinking, recreation and agriculture. Under the proposed rule these waterways would be left unprotected.
  • Important wetlands, those not adjacent to other protected waters, will no longer be protected from being filled or polluted. This leaves vulnerable desert springs, seeps and ciénegas that provide essential habitat for imperiled species like the Chiricahua leopard frog, Desert pupfish, the Yaqui chub, Gila topminnow, and many species of springsnails. For a full list of plant and animal species and more detailed description see this link: https://floraneomexicana.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/sw_cienega_survey.pdf
  • Clean and healthy waterways are key to western agriculture, recreation and tourist economies that support our communities.
  • These wholesale changes to the Clean Water Act to limit its jurisdiction provide loopholes in the law and give polluters incentives to discharge dangerous pollutants into unprotected waterways.
  • The proposed rule would leave citizens unable to defend certain categories of waterways and wetlands near their homes or where they recreate by suing under the Clean Water Act’s citizen suit provision.

For more information on how the proposed rule will impact New Mexico, see this Santa Fe New Mexican opinion piece by Marcy Leavitt from December.

Instructions for commenting using Regulations.gov:

  1. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149-0003
  2. Click on the blue button on the right that says “Comment Now!”
  3. Type your comment into the box, or upload an attachment. WARNING: your comments will be published “as is” in the record and be made available publicly, so please do not include any personal information you would not want made public.
  4. Fill out your name (you can provide your contact information, but that is optional).
  5. Click on the button on the bottom right that says “Continue.”
  6. This will take you to a preview page where you can double-check your comment. The page will ask you to confirm that the comment will be publicly viewable. Click that you have read and understood the statement and then click, “Submit Comment.”
  7. You’re done! You should see a screen giving you a receipt for your comment, and it will appear in the federal register docket.

We appreciate your courage and time in speaking out against Trump’s dirty water rule. The more comments the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency receives, the more they will have to consider the overwhelming public opposition to this reckless rule. Thank you for lending your voice to build a strong case against this rule and protect our vital watersheds.

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