Dems want EPA, Army Corps to let Americans have input on clean water protections

With the Trump Administration moving to rescind a clean water rule with limited opportunity for public comment
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> Over 1 million Americans weighed in on original Obama Administration proposal over 180 days
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> WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker and 20 Democratic colleagues in a letter sent to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt and Army Corps of Engineers Deputy Assistant Secretary Douglas Lamont urging them to extend the 30-day public comment period for EPA’s proposal to rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule.

In total, the Obama Administration allowed the public to comment on the original rule for 180 days in 2014 and responded to over one million public comments.
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> “The 30-day comment period EPA proposes in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is far too short to allow full review, careful analysis, and heartfelt feedback from as many of the millions of Americans potentially impacted by this endeavor as wish to share their views, including the 117 million (or one in three Americans) who receive drinking water from the waterbodies affected by this proposal,” the senators wrote.
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> The senators continued, “We would urge you to extend that comment period to at least the same duration as offered by the previous Administration when it first proposed the 2015 rule – 90 days.  As you know, EPA and the Corps of Engineers extended the comment period twice in response to requests to do so, resulting in over 180 days of input.  The full comment period extended from April 21—November 14, 2014, yielding more than a million comments.  It makes no sense to deny affected and concerned Americans the same opportunity to weigh in on your proposal to rescind that rule.”
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> Also signing the letter were Senators Tom Carper, Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
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> The text of the letter to Administrator Pruitt and Assistant Secretary Lamont is here:
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> July 17, 2017
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> The Honorable Scott Pruitt
> Administrator
> Environmental Protection Agency
> Ariel Rios Federal Building
> 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
> Room 3000
> Washington, DC 20460
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> Mr. Douglas W. Lamont
> Deputy Assistant Secretary
> Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
> 108 Army Pentagon
> Washington, DC  20310
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> Dear Administrator Pruitt and Deputy Assistant Secretary Lamont:
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> We write to request a minimum of a 90-day extension to the proposed comment period mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule, 80 Fed. Reg. 37054 (Jun. 29, 2015).
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> The 30-day comment period EPA proposes in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is far too short to allow full review, careful analysis, and heartfelt feedback from as many of the millions of Americans potentially impacted by this endeavor as wish to share their views, including the 117 million (or one in three Americans) who receive drinking water from the waterbodies affected by this proposal. 
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> We would urge you to extend that comment period to at least the same duration as offered by the previous Administration when it first proposed the 2015 rule – 90 days.  As you know, EPA and the Corps of Engineers extended the comment period twice in response to requests to do so, resulting in over 180 days of input.  The full comment period extended from April 21—November 14, 2014, yielding more than a million comments.  It makes no sense to deny affected and concerned Americans the same opportunity to weigh in on your proposal to rescind that rule.
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> All Americans depend on clean water for their health and livelihoods.  Farmers need clean water to produce safe food; hunters and anglers—and the $40 billion outdoor recreation industry that supports them—need nourishing waters and wetlands to sustain the fish and wildlife they seek; and it’s no surprise that the 400,000 or so craft brewers and industry employees need access to fresh, healthy waters, too.  They also want assurance that their fundamental right to clean water is not compromised by poor regulating, endless litigating, and the uncertainty this repeal of the Clean Water Rule promises.  That is why 80 percent of voters and small business owners support the rule, why 87 percent of hunters and anglers agree that Clean Water Act protection should apply to the smaller headwaters and wetlands identified by the Clean Water Rule, and why 87 percent of the million or so commenters on the Clean Water Rule said they liked it. 
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> Given the stakes, any effort to change the Clean Water Rule should be based upon robust and meaningful consultation with the public.  The 30-day comment period is simply not enough.
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> Since it is so important to allow the public adequate time to provide responses to this notice, we would appreciate your prompt reply to this request.


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