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ISA Signs On With Waters of the US Letter

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Cook County is fighting the protections, so we are on board with several other organizations.


The letter:

Commissioner Suffredin Oppose Waters of the US Resolution.pdf



There are a number of inaccuracies in Cook County draft resolution 14-6510, “A Resolution
Opposing Expansion of Federal Jurisdiction Over Non-Navigable Waters of the United States,”
The resolution incorrectly implies that the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction is limited only to
“navigable” waters.
Since its passage in 1972, the Clean Water Act has protected both navigable and nonnavigable
water bodies. Although the Act frequently uses the term “navigable waters,” it
defines that term broadly to mean “the waters of the United States, including the
territorial seas.” As a result, when the question of what kinds of features qualify as
“waters of the United States” has reached the Supreme Court (something that has
happened three times in the Act’s history), no Justice of the Court has ruled that the law
only applies to actually navigable waters. Under President Reagan, the law was applied
to any water body that could serve as habitat for migrating birds; as the
independent Government Accountability Office (then called the General Accounting
Office) found in 2004, under that policy, “the Corps was able to regulate almost any body
of water or wetland.”v
This rule would not reinstate that policy, but instead would only
protect waters with a demonstrated and significant impact on the physical, chemical, and
biological condition of downstream water bodies.
The proposed rule would not give the federal agencies de-facto zoning authority.
The proposed rule does not change any local authority, including zoning. It does not
protect any waters that have not historically been covered under the Clean Water Act;
and, in fact, the proposed rule would protect fewer waters than Reagan Administration
policy did.
The proposed rule does not regulate dry ditches.
As EPA’s “Ditch the Myth” website says, “the proposed rule actually reduces regulation
of ditches because for the first time it would exclude ditches that are constructed through
dry lands and don’t have water year-round.” vi
The proposed rule is not an unfunded federal mandate.
It is a clarification of which waterbodies are covered by the Clean Water Act. EPA
estimates about 3 percent more waterbodies would be covered by the draft rule. As part
of the rulemaking process, EPA did an economic analysis showing that the “proposed
rule would provide an estimated $388 million to $514 million annually of benefits to
public, including reducing flooding, filtering pollution, providing wildlife habitat,
supporting hunting and fishing, and recharging groundwater.
The public benefits
significantly outweigh the costs of about $162 million to $279 million per year for
mitigating impacts to streams and wetlands, and taking steps to reduce pollution to
waterways.”vii This analysis was developed by experts in the field and reviewed by staff
of the Office of Management & Budget.


Lyman Welch
Water Quality Director
Alliance for the Great Lakes
Richard Eidlin
Director of Public Policy
American Sustainable Business Council
Brandon Wright
Hamburger Mary’s Chicago
Andersonville Brewing Company
Rebeccah Sanders
Executive Director
Audubon Chicago Region
Jennifer Browning
Executive Director
Bluestem Communications
Hal Sprague
Water Policy Manager
Center for Neighborhood Technology
Erik Sprenne
Chicago Whitewater Association
Lan Richart
Eco-Justice Collaborative
Wouter Hammink
Clean Water Campaign Organizer
Environment Illinois
Jessica Dexter
Environmental Law and Policy Center
Albert Ettinger
Environmental Attorney
Rev. Brian J. Sauder
Executive Director
Faith in Place
Sandi Nelson
Flossmoor Station Brewery & Restaurant
Margaret Frisbie
Executive Director
Friends of the Chicago River
Benjamin Cox
President & CEO
Friends of the Forest Preserves
Matt Gallagher
Co-owner and Head Brewer
Half Acre Beer Company
Walter J. Bock
Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited
Jennifer Walling
Executive Director
Illinois Environmental Council
Tom Eckels
Illinois Paddling Council
Illinois Water TrailKeepers
Mike Clifford
Executive Board, Conservation Director
Illinois Smallmouth Alliance

League of Women Voters of Cook County
Jan Goldman-Carter
Senior Manager
National Wildlife Federation

Henry Henderson
Midwest Director
Natural Resources Defense Council
Gerald W. Adelmann
President & CEO
Glynnis Collins
Executive Director
Prairie Rivers Network
Cindy Skrukrud
Clean Water Advocate
Sierra Club Illinois
Josh Gilbert
Temperance Beer Company

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