In April, after a public comment period, new rules were drafted and published impacting the Clean Water Protection Act. Today, those changes take effect.
“These new rules are the most extreme rollback of cleaning water protections that we've seen since the Clean Water Act was put into place in1972.”
Nathan Murphy is Environment Michigan's State Director.
“These rollbacks specifically, among other things, reduce protection for headland streams and some wetlands. What really concerns us is these are streams and wetlands that have been protected for decades. And since water rolls downhill, if you start polluting or destroying wetlands and streams upstream, you're going to see worse water quality downstream in our lakes, in our rivers and in the Great Lakes. We’re very concerned about removing the protection from these streams and wetlands.”
Removing those regulations allows for what to happen? Who do you suspect sees this as an advantage?
“Anyone that wants to fill in a wetland or dredge out to change the character of it, depending on the type of wetland, would have a lot more freedom to do that because a lot of wetlands basically got kicked out of being regulated so we can do anything you want to them. It could be someone trying to build a home. It could be someone trying to put in a parking lot. You name it. Whatever the reasons people have for filling in a wetland, that's the risk.”
Who or what group out there made an appeal to the government to say this needs to change?
“Well, I think there's a lot of folks in the regulated industry that wanted to see this happen and rather than point fingers, I’d rather underscore the fact that this is a bad idea. Here in Michigan we love our water and we know how important is it just doesn't make sense to us.”
Nathan Murphy, you are the state director at environment, Michigan. Thank you so much.