The U.S. House of Representatives today refused to include an amendment to the House Energy and Water Appropriations Bill that would allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clarify the intent of the Clean Water Act and protect water quality and fish and game habitat all over America.
“This is particularly disappointing to sportsmen,” said Steve Moyer, Trout Unlimited’s vice president of government affairs. “The Clean Water Act is one of the most important conservation tools available to help protect the health of our rivers and streams and the fish and game that depend on healthy watersheds. Without the practical, science-based guidance direction from the Corps of Engineers to on the ground practitioners, it’s much more difficult to ensure our clean water and healthy habitat stays that way.
“There’s a direct connection between clean water and our opportunity to hunt and fish—our fish and game need clean water above all else.”
An amendment to the bill was offered by Reps. Jim Moran (D-Virginia) and John Dingell (D-Michigan) that would have allowed implementation of the Corps’ guidance language, which would have clarified the use of the Clean Water Act in certain situations, including how it would be administered in cases impacting small headwater streams and important wetlands.
The bulk of America’s wild and native trout and salmon populations spawn in the cold, clear headwater streams of our country’s river systems. Putting these waters at risk is a dangerous proposition and could have unfortunate impacts on both fish and fishing, Moyer said.
“American sportsmen greatly appreciate the efforts of Reps. Moran (D-Virginia) , Dingell (D-Michigan), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania), Norm Dicks (D-West Virginia), Donna Edwards (D-Maryland) and others as they reminded the House what it seems to have forgotten: You can’t have fishable waters if substantial numbers of wetlands and headwater streams go unprotected by the Clean Water Act,” Moyer said. “Sportsmen will not forget these votes and will continue to do all in our power to defeat similar provisions that threaten clean water and fishing and hunting opportunity.”
The House of Representatives has included similar language in previous year’s appropriations bills, and it has been routinely rejected by the Senate. Trout Unlimited urges the Senate and Obama administration to reject further attacks on the Clean Water Act.