President vetoes bill to block headwater protection

Yesterday, President Obama vetoed SJ Res 22, which would have nullfied rules adopted last summer by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to clarify that Clean Water Act protections apply to the small headwater and feeder streams and not just the downstream perennial waters.  Click here to read a response supporting these Clean Water rules, from Colorado TU and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. The President's veto message appears below and echoes TU's argument that protection of our larger downstream rivers depends on protecting them from their source in the headwaters. Colorado TU would also like to thank Senator Michael Bennet, who voted against SJ Res 22 and in support of anglers and water quality protection.  (Update: the Senate voted today 1/21/16 and the President's veto was upheld.  Thank you to Senator Bennet and all those who stood up in defense of water quality.)

The President's Veto Message follows:

I am returning herewith without my approval S.J. Res. 22, a resolution that would nullify a rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army to clarify the jurisdictional boundaries of the Clean Water Act. The rule, which is a product of extensive public involvement and years of work, is critical to our efforts to protect the Nation's waters and keep them clean; is responsive to calls for rulemaking from the Congress, industry, and community stakeholders; and is consistent with decisions of the United States Supreme Court.

We must protect the waters that are vital for the health of our communities and the success of our businesses, agriculture, and energy development. As I have noted before, too many of our waters have been left vulnerable. Pollution from upstream sources ends up in the rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and coastal waters near which most Americans live and on which they depend for their drinking water, recreation, and economic development. Clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act helps to protect these resources and safeguard public health. Because this resolution seeks to block the progress represented by this rule and deny businesses and communities the regulatory certainty and clarity needed to invest in projects that rely on clean water, I cannot support it. I am therefore vetoing this resolution.




January 19, 2016.