Bush Administration Scraps Proposed Changes to Clean Water Act

In another policy turnaround, the U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers jointly announced yesterday that they will not move forward with proposed changes to the Clean Water Act that would have sharply reduced the number of waterways and wetlands protected from development. The proposed rules, based on a creative interpretation of a 2001 Supreme Court ruling, were strongly supported by the construction industry, but opposed by just about everybody else, including enviros, hunters, anglers, and many public officials. Environmental groups remain concerned that a directive issued to EPA and Army Corps staffs in January — which could remove federal protection from up to 20 million acres of wetlands if implemented — has not yet been rescinded. Still, the National Wildlife Federation’s Julie Sibbing spoke for many when she said, “I have to admit this was a real positive development and a win for wetlands and wildlife.”