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TU on Clean Water Act Executive Order
Colorado TU
Feb. 28, 2017

President Trump signed an executive order today that will begin to unravel protections included in the Clean Water Rule.

In response to the order, Trout Unlimited released the following statements from Colorado TU executive director David Nickum and from TU CEO/President Chris Wood.

David Nickum, executive director, Colorado Trout Unlimited

“The President promised to drain the swamp instead, this shortsighted decision opens the door to drain our wetlands. Colorado’s incredible outdoors quality of life depends on healthy, clean watersheds, and anglers know that starts at the source: the small, unassuming streams, headwaters and wetlands that the administration’s order has now put at risk. Even streams that don’t run year-round – which represent about 75 percent of Colorado’s stream miles – directly impact the health of the downstream rivers that we depend on for drinking water, irrigation, and our recreation economy. If we degrade and pollute those headwaters, it is only a matter of time until the next snowmelt or rainstorm sends those impacts down into our larger rivers and water supplies.

The Executive Order disregards the rule of law by proposing a standard that was rejected by a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, and it disregards the laws of nature by pretending that downstream rivers can be protected without protecting their upstream sources.

As EPA and the Corps begin to apply this Executive Order, you can expect Colorado sportsmen and women to be aggressively involved, fighting for the headwater streams and wetlands that are essential for healthy fish and wildlife habitat.”

Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited

“Today, President Trump signed an executive order that begins to unravel the protections of the Clean Water Act for small headwater streams.

The Clean Water Rule was finalized in 2015 after more than one million public comments and extensive scientific review. It provides protection to streams and rivers including 60 percent of the stream miles in the U.S. that flow seasonally. Protecting these headwaters is important not only to anglers, but also to the one in three Americans whose drinking water comes from small seasonal streams.

The Executive Order directs the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA to rescind and revise the Clean Water Rule. It also directs the agencies to use former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s minority opinion that said seasonal streams do not merit protection, as a basis for the revision. If Justice Scalia’s direction is followed, 60 percent of U.S. streams and 20 million acres of wetlands would lose protection of the Clean Water Act an unmitigated disaster for fish and wildlife, hunting and fishing, and clean water.

Sportsmen and women have a simple question for the President and EPA Administrator Pruitt: are we going forward or backward on clean water? Today’s announcement is a big step back. Legally, scientifically, and logically a reliance on Justice Scalia’s opinion is wrong-headed—but there’s still time, working through the new rulemaking process, to make it right.

When the new Administration replaces the Clean Water Rule, it must listen to the voices of tens of millions of sportsmen and women who want more clean water, more fish and wildlife habitat, and more hunting and angling opportunities. The Trump Administration can change direction on this Rule but they can’t change the fact that clean water is not a political issue. It is a basic right of every American.

Gravity works cheap, and it never takes a day off. The Administration cannot stop water flowing downhill—and we all live downstream. To be effective, the Clean Water Act must be able to control pollution at its source, upstream in the headwaters and wetlands that flow downstream through communities to our major lakes, rivers, and bays. The Administration’s action places the health of 60 percent of the stream miles in the U.S. at risk. Trout Unlimited intends to work with our hundreds of thousands of members and supporters to reverse course on this misguided direction.”

For more information, go to
Member comments
by: Hops on 3/15/2017 8:17:00 PM
As a TU member I too value water, but the 2015 regulation was massive overreach by the FEDS and was actually a Federal Goverment power grab taking any control of water a farmer or the States might have and placing it under control of the FEDS. I think TU needs to report in such a way that they do not jeopardize their tax-exempt status. Every story has two sides and we have a right to learn both sides of a story not a one sided story as this one was. "The President’s action today preserves a federal role in protecting water, but it also restores the states’ important role in the regulation of water.” (EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt) Comments by Dale Foster
by: jukinbone on 3/18/2017 11:34:00 PM
As a response to the comment by Hops, it might be worth considering that streams and other wetlands are not aware of state boundaries. Therefore, the political decisions of states that promote industry at the expense of their waterways will adversely affect water quality and fisheries downstream. Federal jurisdiction in this instance prevents one state's destructive legislation from adversely affecting states who's citizens tend to value their natural resources. The federal government is simply not the villain here.
by: Hops on 3/21/2017 10:41:00 AM
My main point was the way TU wrote an article by expressing one side of a story from clearly their political point of view. This could jeopardize TU's tax-exempt status by entering into politics in a one sided manor. (The NRA, as an example, does not enjoy tax-exempt status). The other side of the story is that the Feds were overreaching on farm land and requiring farmers to obtain permits to any water standing on their privately owned land (one example) At least 13 states, Colorado being one, had filed a lawsuit against the Feds for the overreach. TU could have wrote the story including the American Farmer's and the States point of view also, and as I see it, not enter into the realm of taking political sides.