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Protecting Northern Michigan's ​Water Resources

Clean Water Act

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The 1972 Clean Water Act was written to protect all the waters and wetlands of the United States. Two unfortunate Supreme Court decisions narrowed its scope, weakened its safeguards, and thoroughly confused the federal agencies responsible for enforcing it. As a result, thousands of miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands have been exposed to development and degradation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has issued a rule restoring the historic scope of the Clean Water Act. The rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined, more predictably determined, and easier for businesses and industry to understand. It has faced several legal challenges, and now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reviewing the rule, which it stayed last October. We are supporting the rule making efforts to clarify existing law and to protect vulnerable wetlands and provide clearer direction on which waters are protected as “waters of the United States.”