The National Wildlife Federation

Donate Donate

New EPA Proposal an Unprecedented Threat to America’s Waters

“Today’s proposal represents the most significant attempt to remove protections for America’s streams and wetlands since the Clean Water Act passed in 1972."

WASHINGTON (February 14, 2019)—A new proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency would remove critical protections for many of the nation's streams and wetlands. The National Wildlife Federation urged the EPA to rethink its proposed rule following its publication today in the Federal Register and formal start of its 60-day public comment period.

 Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, issued the following statement:

“Today’s proposal represents the most significant attempt to remove protections for America’s streams and wetlands since the Clean Water Act passed in 1972. This proposal eliminates Clean Water Act protections for at least half of the nation’s wetlands and millions of miles of streams. This change would cause catastrophic impacts to America’s wildlife over time.

“At a time when communities across the country are facing drinking water and flooding crises exacerbated by climate change, we call upon the EPA to rescind this misguided proposal that would make it easier to damage our streams and wetlands, destroy fish and wildlife habitat, threaten our communities with increased flooding, and pollute our drinking water.”

About the proposed rule: 

  • The proposed rule would remove Clean Water Act protections for at least half the wetlands in the country, which provide critical flood storage, water filtration, and wildlife benefits.
  • The rule as drafted would remove Clean Water Act protections for ephemeral streams, typically smaller streams that flow during snow melt or when it rains. These streams are particularly important in the arid west, and are often not mapped in wetter areas of the country.
  • The draft rule asks for public comment on excluding intermittent streams in addition to ephemeral streams, leaving open the possibility of also omitting these streams in the final version of the rule. Collectively, these two stream types provide drinking water for an estimated 117 million Americans.

Get Involved

   Please leave this field empty

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 51 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More
Regional Centers and Affiliates