The EPA Wants to Hear Your Voice!

The EPA is proposing a repeal of the 2015 Clean Water Rule. While contemplating the repeal, the EPA is looking to the public opinion to help them make an informed and unified decision. You as an American citizen can exercise your rights and express your commitment to environmental protection by sending your comments directly to the EPA.  However, before sending your comments to the EPA, it is important to be well acquainted with the 2015 Clean Water Rule is and how it came to be.  

The Clean Water Rule is a regulation that was published by the EPA in 2015. This regulation came decades after the Clean Water Act of 1972.  The CWA of 1972 was enacted to restore and maintain the integrity of the nation’s water by prohibiting the discharge of pollutants in navigable waters, and provided that states retain their role in preventing, reducing, and eliminating pollution.

In 2015, the CWR elaborated on the federal regulation of water management by defining what the navigable waters of the United States are. As a regulation, CWR clarified the breadth of federal water protection over US water. Here are some of the defined protected navigable waters by the 2015 CWR:

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  1. Wetlands

  2. Water used for recreational purposes

  3. Water from which fish or shellfish could be sold

  4. Water used in interstate or foreign commerce

  5. Interstate rivers and lakes

  6. Intrastate rivers and lakes

  7. Adjacent wetlands

Under the Executive Order signed on February 28th, 2017 “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the Waters of the United States Rule” a repeal of the 2015 CWR was proposed.  If the 2015 CWR is repealed, agencies will first repeal the 2015 definition of navigable waters in the US. The agencies would then be able to create new definitions of US navigable waters that they claim would be kept free of pollution while simultaneously promoting economic growth.

Essentially, agencies would be able to determine which US navigable waters should be protected. If the CWR is repealed it could have serious consequences for waters that are currently protected under the Clean Water Act.  

Voice your opinion, share your comments directly with the EPA!

“Definition of Waters of United States - Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules.”, Environmental Protection Agency, 27 July 2017,


Julia Gutierrez