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Action Alert: Townships Urged to Oppose Clean Water Act Change

Friday September 19th, 2014

PSATS is asking township officials to urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw their proposed change to the Clean Water Act that would dramatically impact land, water, and local budgets.

If adopted, this rule would tighten federal control over the nation’s waters and land, including private property, by redefining what constitutes “waters of the U.S.” This phrase currently covers “navigable waters” that flow between states, typically rivers, but under the new rulemaking, it would include streams, wetlands, ponds, and even temporary bodies of water created by heavy rains and flooding, such as ditches.

While the agencies’ intentions may be admirable, their approach is being roundly criticized as a “terrifying power grab.” Why? Because the rule change would give the federal government greater authority over public and private waters and land. Local officials worry, for instance, that the regulation would delay projects and create new bureaucratic hurdles.

Click here to see the proposed definition of "Waters of the U.S." under the Clean Water Act.

PSATS opposes the rule change and is encouraging townships to support its efforts. Here’s what you can do:

  • Study up on the rule change. Read more on the proposed rule from the National Association of Towns and Townships. Townships can also go to any search engine and do a keyword search — use such phrases as “Waters of the U.S.” and “Clean Water Act expansion” — to find related information and news articles.
  • Participate in the EPA’s public comment period, which ends November 20. Comments may be emailed to or mailed to Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460, Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-2011-0880. (Note:Suggested talking points for PSATS member townships are available under "Member Resources" and then "Environmental Info." You will need to enter your member ID and password to view the information.)
  • Register your opposition with Pennsylvania’s senators, Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, and your congressman. (You can access their contact information by entering your zip code here.)