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Local Izaak Walton League backs new water protections

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The Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America has announced it strongly supports new proposed rules that would improve water quality across the nation.

The US Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week released a proposal to clarify which “waters of the United States” are protected by the Clean Water Act.

“The proposed rule is a great step toward restoring protections for upstream waters and wetlands that were eliminated over the last decade due to confusing Supreme Court rulings,” said chapter president Jim Sweeney.

“The American public now has an opportunity to weigh in on how important clean water and healthy wetlands are to them,” he continued. “The Porter County Chapter urges all hunters, anglers, and outdoor lovers to voice their support for the new proposals.”

“The Corps and EPA are proposing new rules that are balanced and supported by science,” said Scott Kovarovics, Izaak Walton League Executive Director. “The proposal will better protect streams that provide drinking water to 117 million people and help conserve streams and wetlands that are vital to protect the nation’s wildlife and a vibrant outdoor recreation economy.”

According to the League, at least 20 million wetland acres and nearly 60 percent of stream miles in the continental United States have lost protection from pollution and physical destruction. Past government and Supreme Court decisions effectively ignored the well-established science on the connections between upstream and downstream waters.

The draft rule includes exemptions for many land-use activities and certain waters, including many agricultural practices, ornamental ponds, and more that have been primary arguments against strong rules. The public now has 90 days to comment on the proposal.

The proposed rule and information on submitting comments can be found on the EPA Web site.

Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America (www.iwla.org) protects America's outdoors through education, community-based conservation, and promoting outdoor recreation.

Posted 3/28/2014