Scope of the Clean Water Act
In January 2003 the Bush administration announced an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) and released a policy directive (or guidance) designed to limit the scope of the Clean Water Act and leave many streams and wetlands without federal safeguards against pollution and destruction. U.S. EPA estimates that the policy directive impacts protection for 20 million acres of wetlands and other waters. This is the most serious assault on clean water in decades.
In December 2003, the administration dropped plans to conduct a rulemaking to limit the scope of the Act. The threat to our nation's waters, however, remains as long as the policy directive on Clean Water Act jurisdiction is still in effect.
The guidance tells Army Corps and EPA staff NOT to enforce federal clean water authority without first getting permission from agency headquarters. The policy guidance is being used to destroy many wetlands, ponds and streams around the country. Our nation's waters will not be protected until the policy directive is withdrawn and the administration commits itself to enforcing the Clean Water Act to the full extent of the law.