Protecting Clean Water
As we spend our soggy days working in between flooding rivers, streams and lakes, we were very disheartened and upset yesterday to read about yet another undoing of current environmental rules. At this time, there have been over 95 rules reversed or “rolled back.” An in-depth study, well worth reading, is available in The New York Times online (Dec. 21, 2019), outlining these exact rollbacks or complete reversals, not only from the Obama era, but all the way back to the 1972 Clean Water Act.
This new, narrower definition of federal water protection outlines removing millions of miles of streams and around half of America’s wetlands from federal oversight. This new definition will allow pesticides, toxic fertilizers and other pollutants to be dumped into our waterways without penalty, not only affecting ephemeral streams that feed into larger rivers, but also compromising drinking water to an estimated 117 million people in the U.S.
Who benefits from this change? Golf course developers, large ranching operations and large fossil fuel energy companies. The previous rules protected the famous Chesapeake Bay, Mississippi River and our very own Puget Sound, as well as the streams and wetlands that run into them, above ground and below. Many ephemeral streams will lose out on this protection, those that are more seasonal during floods, including the ones that we here in the PNW are protecting, and others in places like Colorado.
Ephemeral streams from floods and snow-melt geographically define us here in Carnation, surrounded by the Cascade Mountains and the Snoqualmie River, as these waters, annually feeding our fields and wildlife, directly affect us. We all need to be more vigilant and educate ourselves about our local waterways so that we can protect them. We urge all of our members to engage, through newsletters and by writing to your local representatives. Look to local groups here in our area:
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