As referenced in Jeff Gill’s article last Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a new rule clarifying which streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands are protected. This new rule clarifies that seasonal bodies of water, those being mostly streams and wetlands, are protected under the Clean Water Act.
By addressing water pollution before it enters our biggest rivers, like the Chattahoochee and Oconee rivers, this new rule sets Georgia on a new path to cleaner rivers and lakes that so many of us will be enjoying this summer. I know that some of my most cherished childhood memories are swimming in the Chattahoochee with my family, not worried about becoming sick due to pollution. Future generations of Georgians deserve memories like this.
This new rule is also important for Georgia because the fishing industry is a $2 billion industry employing some 40,000 Georgians. This industry, along with much of our tourism industry, is dependent on the health of Georgia’s streams, lakes, rivers and wetlands.
I urge Georgians to thank the EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers and the White House for getting this new rule finalized. All of us will need to help to protect this new rule against big oil, gas and developers who wish to see it undone.
Thankfully we as a people can be more powerful than the lobbying dollars that are likely being spent to undo these protections for our rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands. We Georgians need to collectively show that clean water is worth fighting for.