[audubon-news] Audubon Reaction to Administration Reversal on Wetlands

  • From: "BIANCHI, John" <JBIANCHI@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <Audubon-News@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003 12:06:32 -0500

 <<ole0.bmp>>                                   Contact: John Bianchi
jbianchi@xxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:jbianchi@xxxxxxxxxxx>


'Isolated' Wetlands Will Continue to be Protected Under the Clean Water Act

Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 16, 2003 - Humans, birds, and wildlife 
scored a major victory today as the Environmental Protection Agency and the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that they would not to move forward with 
a proposal to remove so-called "isolated" wetlands from federal protections 
under Clean Water Act.

"Audubon applauds the Administration for responding to the public outcry 
against stripping some of our most valuable national assets of protection," 
said Audubon Chief Operating Officer Bob Perciasepe.  "It sends a strong 
message to theWe are pleased that the Administration realized that this is not 
the time to question whether some wetlands and waters need to be protected.  
Rather, we ought to be thinking about how to strengthen clean water 
protections, since over 40% of our nation's waters still do not meet basic 
water quality standards."

"Congress now needs to act to fix the loop hole created by the Supreme Court to 
insure that all wetlands are protected," Perciasepe continued.  "Audubon 
strongly supports the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act as a remedy to 
ensure no new loss of these irreplaceable and economically invaluable 

Hundreds of thousands of Americans and dozens of conservation and recreation 
groups voiced their opposition to the proposal, announced in January 2003.  In 
a separate guidance issued last January, the Administration failed to close 
loopholes allowing more filling and draining of our nation's wetlands.  The 
policy guidance was effective immediately: those waters and wetlands are still 
threatened by unregulated pollution, filling, and destruction.

"We need a new national commitment to restore the waters that are neither 
fishable nor swimmable, and to protect all of our remaining wetlands," 
Perciasepe concluded.  "Clean water is vital to America.  It is essential for 
community drinking water, agriculture, fishing and swimming, birds, and a 
strong economy.  Clean water is a legacy we all hope to deliver to our children 
and grandchildren for their future enjoyment and health."

Wetlands are the important foundations for healthy and clean water for all 
communities, rivers, and streams in the U.S.  America already loses up to 
100,000 acres a year of vital wetlands, and the country has lost more than half 
of its historic wetlands.  These resources provide critical habitat for 
wildlife, including great numbers of birds like Mallard Ducks and species at 
risk such as the Prairie Warbler, Short-Eared Owl, and Snowy Plover, to name 
just a few.  Not only do these areas provide habitat, but they also are also 
important for maintaining clean water and reducing flooding downstream.

Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat 
that supports them.  Our national network of community-based nature centers and 
chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas 
sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages 
and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences.
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