Changes will increase flooding, pollution
Thursday, March 7, 2019
The recently proposed rule change by the EPA limiting the waterways protected by the 1972 federal Clean Water Act is dangerous to those of us living in eastern North Carolina. The changes would remove all protections from intermittent streams and wetlands without a constant surface connection to another body of water.
These streams and wetlands do become full of water when it rains, connect with larger streams and their water then flows downstream. They are our first line of defense against both pollution and flooding.
If polluting discharges are allowed into these streams, as they would be under the proposed changes, that pollution will flow downstream into the clean water we depend on.
If paving over, removing or filling of these streams and wetlands is allowed, as they would be under the proposed changes, their water would be more rapidly discharged downstream without the filtering our wetlands currently provide, contributing to more flooding.
All of us depend on clean water in our streams and rivers for drinking water, economic development, fishing, and recreation. Since our General Assembly has prohibited any state environmental rules that are more restrictive than federal policy, thousands of miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands in North Carolina will be completely unprotected if the proposed EPA rules go into effect.
Gov. Cooper and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality should oppose the EPA rollbacks and protect the health and well-being of all North Carolinians.
Sound Rivers is our local river protection organization working to keep all the protections of the Clean Water Act in place. Learn more at https://soundrivers.org/clean-water-act/