In 1972, Sen. Ed Muskie was prompted to write the Clean Water Act when the Androscoggin River was cited as one of the most polluted in the United States.

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency released the Clean Water Rule clarification, under the Clean Water Act, after years of compiling scientific data showing that headwaters – even intermittent streams – affect larger rivers downstream.

Of course, it was no surprise that one of the first things President Trump did was to order the EPA to ditch that rule. Nor was it a surprise when the EPA, taking direction from an administration with a far different approach to science and the environment than previous ones, released a new proposal that significantly diminishes protections for our headwaters.

As a Maine angler, I value these headwaters because they provide clean, cold water for trout spawning. But clean water isn’t only good for trout. Headwater streams account for about 53 percent of U.S. stream miles, and ephemeral, intermittent and headwater streams provide water to over one-third of all Americans.

It is true that some states do a good job of managing clean water protections. But not all states are equal. Rivers and streams cross borders. Should a state that does its best for its residents have to bear the risk and costs of pollution from a neighbor where pollution is allowed?

The only explanation for this nonsense is that big industry that prioritizes profits over the health of our citizens and our environment is influencing our elected officials in Washington. This is not a political issue. All Americans deserve clean water.

The EPA will soon have a short public comment period before this polluter-friendly rule is finalized. I urge anyone who cares about clean water to please take time to tell the EPA that clean water matters.

Mac McGinley


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