TU on Clean Water Act Executive Order

Feb. 28, 2017 President Trump signed an executive order today that will begin to unravel protections included in the Clean Water Rule.

In response to the order, Trout Unlimited released the following statements from Colorado TU executive director David Nickum and from TU CEO/President Chris Wood.

David Nickum, executive director, Colorado Trout Unlimited

“The President promised to drain the swamp; instead, this shortsighted decision opens the door to drain our wetlands.  Colorado’s incredible outdoors quality of life depends on healthy, clean watersheds, and anglers know that starts at the source: the small, unassuming streams, headwaters and wetlands that the administration’s order has now put at risk. Even streams that don’t run year-round – which represent about 75 percent of Colorado’s stream miles – directly impact the health of the downstream rivers that we depend on for drinking water, irrigation, and our recreation economy. If we degrade and pollute those headwaters, it is only a matter of time until the next snowmelt or rainstorm sends those impacts down into our larger rivers and water supplies.

The Executive Order disregards the rule of law by proposing a standard that was rejected by a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, and it disregards the laws of nature by pretending that downstream rivers can be protected without protecting their upstream sources.

As EPA and the Corps begin to apply this Executive Order, you can expect Colorado sportsmen and women to be aggressively involved, fighting for the headwater streams and wetlands that are essential for healthy fish and wildlife habitat.”


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.”

For more information, go to http://standup.tu.org/stand-up-for-clean-water/


David Nickum, dnickum@tu.org, (720) 581-8589

Randy Scholfield, Southwest Region Communications Director, rscholfield@tu.org, (720) 375-3961


Trout Unlimited’s mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. www.tu.org