Why The EPA’s Clean Drinking Water Rule Is So Controversial

Read the full post at Grist.

Speaking generally, Americans really care about clean water. According to one Gallup poll, they care about it even more than clean air, and clean soil. And when it comes to water, Americans really care about clean drinking water — even more than clean rivers and lakes.

So it might be confusing that there’s been so much opposition to the EPA’s clean drinking water rule, known as the Waters of the United States rule, or WOTUS. Speaking privately, environmentalists generally agree that organized opposition to WOTUS has been more fierce and direct than it has been for other controversial Obama administration regulations — even the Clean Power Plan, which seeks to limit carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.

Under WOTUS, 2 million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands that provide drinking water would be designated as protected under the Clean Water Act. This is necessary, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers argue, because one-third of Americans get their drinking water from sources connected to these steams and wetlands.

But late last week, a federal judge halted the EPA from implementing it, just hours before it was scheduled to go into effect.

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