Today, the new Clean Water Act rulemaking goes into effect across the nation (with the exception of thirteen states including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, which are involved in an injunction temporarily blocking the rule from going into effect in those states), protecting drinking water for thousands and ensuring habitat for vital headwaters fisheries. Ben Bulis, President of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association issued the following statement in reaction to today’s implementation of the Clean Water Rule:
“We commend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and President Obama for making this revised rulemaking a priority, and clean water a certainty for Americans. AFFTA is the sole trade and advocacy organization for the fly-fishing industry and our mission is to promote the sustained growth of our industry. We cannot achieve our mission without clean water. According to a recent study from the National Wildlife Federation, more than 80% of hunters and anglers feel strongly that the Clean Water Rule should apply to smaller, headwaters streams and habitat. These sportsmen are pleased with the new rulemaking.
Additionally, data from a 2013 report by the American Sportfishing Association titled “Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation,” anglers contributed about $115 billion in economic output in 2011. These economic contributions from recreational fishing have continued to grow over the past several decades. The protections the Clean Water Act will provide to wildlife habitat has a direct positive effect to the bottom line of our industry.
Our industry relies on clean water to thrive. Thankfully, the new rule reduces confusion about the Clean Water Act by clarifying the types of waters covered. Knowing which waters are covered is a significant step to ensuring our members have access to clean water and healthy fish populations, and will help protect the headwater streams that provide vital spawning and rearing habitat for trout and salmon. Moreover, the waters protected by the new rule are sources of clean water for downstream communities and industries like ours.
Reinstating these protections, especially after events like the dead zones discovered in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay last year, will bring about healthier ecosystems that will benefit fish and wildlife, allow the American people places to recreate and our industry to conduct business.
We look forward to seeing thousands of acres of habitat rebound in areas now protected, ensuring wildlife populations that will support our industry for decades to come. The need for healthy fisheries and access to them is quite simple, as our industry would fail to sustain itself without those two vital components. Again, we thank the Obama Administration for making clean water and our fisheries a priority for the American people.”