For 50 years, the Clean Water Act has protected families and communities by preventing unchecked and unlimited pollution from contaminating our waterways and drinking water sources. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now proposing a new rule, the Replacement rule that would dramatically shrink the protections of the Clean Water Act.

In 2015, the Clean Water rule was added as an amendment to the 1972 Clean Water Act to extend protection to small streams, wetlands, stream headwaters, and waters that only flow seasonally or after rain by recognizing them as “waters of the United States.”

The new Replacement rule will regress back to the narrow 1972 interpretation of the definition of “waters” to extend protection only to bodies such as oceans, rivers, and lakes, while excluding ephemeral geographic features, as well as nonnavigable, isolated waters.

What does this mean?

The dangers of the Replacement rule for Georgia

Without basic safeguards in place, the waters that more than 32 million Southerners depend on for drinking water and that support more than $130 billion in Southeast tourism annually would be at risk.

Gutting protections under the Clean Water Act allows industrial polluters to contaminate waters upstream and smaller waterways that flow into our rivers and lakes, across state line. Without clean headwaters, clean rivers cannot exist.

What can we do?

The EPA has opened up a comment period for public opinion.

Click here to submit your comments to the EPA. The deadline for submitting comments is April 15, 2019.

For tips on submitting effective comments on EPA dockets, click here.