EPA Clarification Vital for Our Water Sources

05/27/2015 11:32 am ET | Updated May 27, 2016

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced a final rule clarifying "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act. The rule includes protections for sources of drinking and recreational water, including streams and wetlands that are upstream from larger bodies of water.

I applaud the Obama Administration for finalizing this important rule clarifying the scope of waters protected by the EPA and USACE. As someone who has lived near Lake Michigan my entire life, I know how important those protections have been to drinking and recreational water.

However, recent Supreme Court cases have raised questions about the extent of water sources protected under the Clean Water Act. This rule makes clear which bodies of water are covered - and which are not.

One in three Americans gets their drinking water from sources - like wetlands and tributaries - that are now clearly protected due to this rule. They deserve the guarantee that their water is protected against chemicals and other harmful pollutants.

I thank the President for his leadership on this issue, and I congratulate EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and USACE Commanding General Thomas Bostick on completing this important rulemaking.