Sample Editorial Board Memo
To: [INSERT NAME OF PUBLICATION]
Date: June 1, 2017
From: [YOUR NAME] [TITLE] [ORGANIZATION]
Re: Request for editorial – Repealing the Clean Water Rule puts the drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans and [NUMBER] of [STATE-IANS] at greater risk of pollution and destruction.
The Trump Administration recently began the process to repeal the Clean Water Rule, continuing its egregious assault on protections for our water and public health. Repealing the Clean Water Rule will keep the small streams that feed the drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans at risk of pollution and destruction.
On top of putting vital parts of our natural infrastructure at risk right now, the Trump Administration has expressed a desire to repeal the current Rule and finalize a new Rule in less than a year. This rushed timeline won’t allow for meaningful consideration or proper public engagement. The public expects federal officials to be deliberate and provide opportunities to comment on proposals that will impact their lives and communities. Before finalizing the Clean Water Rule in 2015, EPA held more than 400 meetings with stakeholders across the country and published a synthesis of more than 1200 peer-reviewed scientific publications, which showed that the small streams and wetlands the Rule safeguards are vital to larger downstream waters. The Trump Administration seems to want to shortcut this process in order to avoid public scrutiny.
We can only assume the Trump Administration wants to bypass the public because he knows that Americans are concerned about our water and support commonsense safeguards. Recent polls show that Americans are more concerned than ever about drinking water and a majority believe that the environment should be prioritized. More than a million Americans commented on the Clean Water Rule and the vast majority of those comments were in support. Polls at the time showed that nearly 80%, regardless of party, believed that the Clean Water Rule is essential to protecting drinking water.
The Trump Administration intends to follow its repeal of the Clean Water Rule with a replacement rule that will be substantially weaker, and will cut the heart out of the Clean Water Act itself. The Administration intends to ignore precedent, defining protected waterways using an approach divorced from both the law and science. This will not only ignore history – both the Bush and Obama Administrations relied on ecological factors the Trump Administration would ignore – it will also make it easier to weaken key provisions of the landmark Clean Water Rule.
Repealing the Clean Water Rule’s safeguards and replacing them with weaker requirements will put industry concerns before public health and clean water. It will directly and negatively impact people and small businesses throughout [STATE]. I urge you to consider editorializing on this important matter.
I am available to discuss this issue in greater depth.
[NAME], [PHONE], [EMAIL]
The Clean Water Act turns 45 years old in October. It is a landmark law that has saved lakes and rivers and has been used to hold polluters accountable for decades. It contains a bold vision – making all of our waters safe for fishing and swimming, and eliminating pollution discharges. Unfortunately, after nearly 45 years, we still have work to do. Many of our rivers and lakes are still not safe.
The Trump administration wants to make this work even harder.
In February, the President signed an executive order initiating a scheme by which the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers will withdraw the Clean Water Rule. Just this week, the agencies officially proposed repealing the Clean Water Rule. This is the next step in the Trump administration’s assault on common sense protections for clean water and public health.
It couldn’t be more reckless.
The Clean Water Rule protects the streams that feed the drinking water for more than 117 million Americans and [NUMBER] [STATE-IANS]. It safeguards millions of acres of wetlands that absorb filter pollutants, protect communities by absorbing floodwaters and provide habitat for wildlife. It is essential to [LOCAL ICONIC WATERBODY]. These streams and wetlands are vital parts of our natural infrastructure relied on by small businesses like craft breweries and outdoor recreation companies. Without the Clean Water Rule, federal protections for these water bodies are up in the air and communities throughout [STATE] will be at risk.
Americans are rightly concerned about their water. We expect our elected officials to do more, not less to protect clean water. We expect our elected officials to prioritize public health. Repealing the Clean Water Rule is a shortsighted slap in the face to communities throughout the country. It will result in more polluted water and set us even further back from our goal of swimmable, fishable, drinkable water throughout the country.
Our water hasn’t been this at risk in a generation. The Trump Administration is attacking our water resources with a dangerous budget proposal, the reckless and rushed repeal of the Clean Water Rule, and other actions to undermine pollution controls on major dischargers. Repealing the Clean Water Rule is a massive waste of time and taxpayer money that will put the drinking water of 117 million Americans at risk – risks that will be worsened when the Administration develops an even less protective rule.
Sample Press Statement
Contact: [PRESS CONTACT]
Risking Our Water and Our Communities
Washington – Today the Trump Administration put the sources of drinking water for more than 117 million Americans at greater risk, along with the streams and wetlands that filter pollution and provide habitat for wildlife, by starting the process to repeal the Clean Water Rule.
“Today the Trump Administration proved it only cares about one thing – putting polluters first. Repealing the Clean Water Rule puts the drinking water for [NUMBER] of [STATE-IANS] at risk right now, and ensures that the sources of water for many of us will remain at risk indefinitely. The Clean Water Rule is a commonsense safeguard for the streams communities throughout [YOUR STATE] rely on to feed our drinking water and the wetlands we need to filter pollutants and provide vital habitat for wildlife. The streams and wetlands the Clean Water Rule protects are essential – for drinking water and the natural infrastructure that small businesses and communities rely on. We should be doing more, not less to protect clean water. The Administration is sorely mistaken if it thinks [STATE-IANS] aren’t going to do whatever we can to push back and stop this reckless and rushed repeal.” ###
Hashtags: #DefendWater #ProtectCleanWater #DirtyWaterRule
- Simple Q for @EPAScottPruitt: Why would you risk the #DrinkingWater for 117 million by eliminating the Clean Water Rule? #DefendWater
- Anglers & hunters know clean water is essential to fish and wildlife. Repealing the Clean Water Rule will put these vital waters at risk #DefendWater
- Last week @RealDonaldTrump said ” We’re going to have the cleanest water”. Not if we repeal the Clean Water Rule. #DefendWater
- Communities of color are often disproportionately impacted by contaminated water. Eliminating the #CleanWaterRule could make that worse
- By slashing clean water safeguards, @POTUS and @EPAScottPruitt are putting the health of millions of us at risk. #DefendWater
- Repealing the Clean Water Rule puts polluter profits before public health. Ask @EPAScottPruitt – why risk #DrinkingWater? #DefendWater
- We don’t get clean water by eliminating protections for streams and wetlands. Learn more: protectcleanwater.org (or your website) #DefendWater
- Clean water is essential to the outdoor economy. In 2011, hunters spent $34B. Getting rid of the Clean Water Rule puts that at risk. #DefendWater
- Clean water is essential to outdoor biz. In 2011, anglers spent $41.8B. Eliminating the Clean Water Rule puts that at risk. #DefendWater
- Clean water is essential to the outdoor economy. In 2011, wildlife watchers spent $55B. Repealing the Clean Water Rule puts that at risk. #DefendWater
- Eliminating the Clean Water Rule is the biggest assault yet on our water. We need to #DefendWater, not polluter profits
- .@POTUS & @EPAScottPruitt are gambling with our #DrinkingWater. Let them know it’s time to #DefendWater, not gut the Clean Water Rule
- Repealing the Clean Water Rule is nothing more than a polluter-powered assault on public health and our communities #DefendWater
- Repealing the Clean Water Rule could make things worse for communities already lacking access to clean #drinkingwater. #DefendWater
- [Number/Percentage] of [State-ians] rely on small streams to feed #DrinkingWater sources. @EPAScottPruitt is putting those streams at risk.
- More of the public than ever is concerned about #DrinkingWater. #DefendWater (Gallup Poll)
- The Trump Administration is putting the drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans at greater risk of pollution and destruction. They are eliminating the Clean Water Rule: a common sense safeguard that protects streams and wetlands throughout the county. They are putting polluter profits before public health and we have to stop them. Learn more at protectcleanwater.org [or your website if you have CWR info].
- We don’t get clean water by gutting protections for streams and wetlands. We can’t support small businesses by putting the natural water infrastructure they rely on at risk of destruction. We won’t protect public health by ignoring science. The Trump Administration’s rushed repeal of the Clean Water Rule will put drinking water for more than 117 million of us at risk. Learn more at protectcleanwater.org [or your website if you have CWR info].
- While you may have heard about the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, there are many communities facing similar challenges across the country. We need to do more to protect drinking water, not less. Unfortunately President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt are leading an all-out assault on our water. The latest attack is to get rid of the common sense Clean Water Rule which could make things worse for communities already lacking access to clean sources of drinking water. Learn more at protectcleanwater.org [or your website if you have CWR info].
DRAFT SIGN-ON LETTER
Add your organization to the list of signers: https://goo.gl/forms/SINdeOTvCRaKYWUy1
June XX, 2017 Submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov RE: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-XX-2017-XXXX: Comments on the Repeal and Replacement of the 2015 Definition of Waters of the United States, 82 Fed. Reg. XXXX (June XX, 2017)
Dear Administrator Pruitt and Mr. Lamont:
On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, we write in strong opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) proposal to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule – a popular, much-needed, and carefully-developed action taken to protect the nation’s waters from pollution and destruction. We also oppose your plan to weaken decades-old safeguards via a subsequent rulemaking action. These rollbacks, which President Trump initiated by signing Executive Order 13,778 on February 28, 2017, recklessly target waterways upon which we all rely.
We all depend upon clean water – for drinking, for jobs, for our health, and for time on the water fishing, swimming, paddling and birdwatching. We are parents and grandparents, doctors and nurses, pipefitters and brewers. We are anglers and outfitters, farmers and ranchers. We are front line communities at risk from contaminated water, floods, and storms. We are first responders and water resource managers and engineers charged with protecting the public’s health, safety, and welfare as well as public trust resources. We are environmentalists, conservationists, and watershed stewards. We all expect the Environmental Protection Agency and the Corps to faithfully abide by and enforce the Clean Water Act in order to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.”
The Clean Water Act cannot achieve its important goals without a clear, inclusive definition of the waters protected by the Act. Since the passage of the Clean Water Act, the EPA, together with the Corps, has used sound science, transparent processes with robust public input, and the law to guide and enforce protective rules that safeguard drinking water, communities, wildlife, and natural resources. This Clean Water Act regulatory framework is founded on strong federal-state partnerships (cooperative federalism) and safeguards that apply to protect waters at their source. The Clean Water Act framework allows states to avoid having to impose costly, disproportionate, and economically harmful limits on instate pollution sources to waters within their borders, in order to offset upstream discharges that would otherwise go unregulated if the upstream waters are deemed to fall outside the Act’s coverage and are not adequately controlled by upstream states.
To further these goals of the Clean Water Act, a lengthy, deliberate, and inclusive process led to the 2015 Clean Water Rule, a rule protective of vital waterways and based in sound law and sound science. By comparison, the Administration’s scheme to repeal and eviscerate the 2015 Clean Water Rule has thus far been hasty and haphazard, ignoring the strong legal and scientific basis for the Rule, disrespecting its broad public support, and providing little opportunity for the many clean water stakeholders to voice their interest in inclusive Clean Water Act coverage to protect the nation’s waters.
The agencies plan to replace the well-vetted Clean Water Rule with a new rule that rolls back Clean Water Act jurisdiction based on a legal test that the majority of the Supreme Court Justices rejected. This proposed rulemaking will contradict the law and science that is the foundation for the Clean Water Act clean up successes of the past 40 years, will remove Clean Water Act protections for millions of wetland acres and stream miles, and will cripple federal and state clean water initiatives for the foreseeable future.
The water bodies that could be endangered by the proposed rollback rulemaking serve numerous critical functions. Most notably, more than 117 million Americans receive drinking water from public water systems that draw supply from headwater, seasonal, or rain-dependent streams. Wetlands cover roughly 110 million acres in the continental U.S., and those waters perform numerous functions. Wetlands filter pollution from contaminated runoff, recharge groundwater supplies, and an acre of wetlands can store upwards of a million gallons of flood water. Healthy wetlands and headwater streams provide the clean, cool flows and essential habitat for fish and wildlife populations that are essential for a thriving economy. Decades have shown that economic growth is not only compatible with, but benefits from, these protections.
Healthy wetlands and streams are economic engines for local recreation-based economies. For example, every year 47 million Americans head to the field to hunt or fish. The American Sportfishing Association reports that anglers alone generated $115 billion in total economic activity in 2011, supporting more than 828,000 jobs. The more than $201 billion hunting and fishing economy – including the 1.5 million American jobs it supports – depends on clean water and healthy wetlands.
Further, in some rural, mountain communities, river recreation and related activities generate the largest share of the local economy. Indeed, throughout the headwaters states, river recreation, including boating, fishing and wildlife watching, represents billions of dollars in commerce. These fishing and river guides, outfitters, bait shops, hotels and coffee shops are small businesses that form the backbone of many rural communities. And they depend upon clean water and healthy wetlands, lakes, and streams. Rule changes interpreting the scope of the Clean Water Act’s safeguards must therefore not be taken lightly.
Because the Clean Water Act and its programs are essential to cleaning up and protecting our nation’s waters, the EPA and the Corps developed the Clean Water Rule over a period of several years, providing ample opportunities for stakeholders to evaluate the technical and legal basis for the rule and express their views.
The rulemaking process started in 2011, which itself followed many years of public debate about the proper scope of the Clean Water Act. A rulemaking on this issue was requested by numerous stakeholders on both sides of the issue. The agencies held open the comment period from April 21 to November 14, 2014, receiving more than 1.1 million comments, more than 80% of which were supportive of the rule. During that same time period, the EPA produced an extensively peer-reviewed scientific report confirming that the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of water bodies depend significantly on upstream streams, wetlands, and other waters; this process included a peer review by the independent Science Advisory Board, during which the agency received more than 130,000 comments. During the comment period on the proposed rule, EPA met with more than 400 stakeholders. The agencies then developed a rule that relied on the public input, on a strong scientific record, and on the Supreme Court’s direction about the kinds of waters the Clean Water Act protects.
Any proposal to revisit the 2015 Clean Water Rule should be based in the Act’s purpose, history, and text, and the best scientific evidence available about water bodies’ functions. Likewise, any rulemaking should be as inclusive of diverse stakeholder opinions as the Clean Water Rule and should be built on a scientific foundation that is as robust as the Clean Water Rule’s is.
Rather than solicit thoughtful, science-based, legally sound input on potential revisions to the 2015 Clean Water Rule, this rulemaking to rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule ignores the robust record in support of the Clean Water Rule, and intentionally limits the opportunity for affected communities to express their views about this proposal.
Over the past few years we’ve seen toxic algal outbreaks in Lake Erie, which in 2014 poisoned the drinking water for more than 400,000 people in Toledo. We have experienced increasingly intense and damaging storms and floods that threaten communities upstream and down. In cities like Charleston, WV, we’ve seen the drinking water of more than 300,000 people contaminated with toxic chemicals spilled into the Elk River. As these crises come to light, we’re reminded of just how important these bedrock Clean Water Act safeguards are for communities, fish and wildlife, and the outdoor recreation economy.
To ensure that all Americans have access to drinkable, “crystal clear” water, EPA and the Corps must ensure that the definition of the “waters of the United States” protected by the Clean Water Act is based on the Act’s purpose, history, and text, and the best scientific evidence available about the ecological functions and connectivity of the nation’s waters.
We oppose this scheme to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule and to gut the protections that have prevented reckless pollution of the nation’s waterways for decades. We urge the Administration to withdraw its proposal immediately. If the agencies decide to consider any potential revisions to the 2015 Clean Water Rule, they must engage in a thoughtful, inclusive, science-based, and legally sound process for doing so.
Sample Action Alerts
Clean Water Rule Repeal Summer 2017 (Email to your orgs membership lists)
Subject line: Our water is at risk! We have to act now.
Our water is at risk! We have to act now. In 2015 the Obama administration finalized commonsense protections for streams and wetlands across the country. These safeguards protected the small streams that feed the drinking water sources for nearly 1 in 3 Americans. They protected wetlands throughout the nation that filter pollutants from water, absorb floodwaters, and provide habitat for countless wildlife. It was a no-brainer supported by millions of Americans and backed by science. It was a huge victory for our water.
But that is all at risk now.
The Trump administration has proposed rolling-back these protections and putting all of those water bodies at risk. We can’t let that happen. Make your voice heard – send a message to EPA today. Tell Administrator Scott Pruitt: Hands off our water.
Clean Water is essential to human health, vital to healthy communities, and necessary for a robust economy. We rely on these small streams for drinking water and these wetlands to protect our communities from floods. Craft brewers, outdoor recreation businesses, and other small businesses need clean water to succeed. Wildlife depend on the habitat these water bodies provide. The fact is – anyone who needs clean water, which is everyone, must make sure these small streams and wetlands are protected. That’s why we must act now. We can’t let the Trump administration put our water at risk.
Take action today – click here.
Intro to the action
The Trump Administration is gutting protections for streams and wetlands. They have proposed to repeal safeguards for water bodies that feed the drinking water for more than 1 in 3 Americans, filter pollutants, absorb floodwaters, and provide habitat for wildlife across the nation. We can’t let this happen. Send a message to EPA today and tell Administrator Scott Pruitt to keep his hands off of our water!
The Clean Water Rule was finalized by Obama’s EPA in 2015. Polluters have tried to kill it ever since and now the Trump Administration is helping them. If they succeed, they will put the drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans at risk, along with 20 million acres of wetlands that protect communities by filtering pollution and more than half of the stream miles across the country.
These streams and wetlands are vital parts of our water infrastructure. They are the backbone of healthy communities and a robust economy. We can’t let the Trump Administration gut protections for them. Send a message to Administrator Pruitt below. Tell him that we need to strengthen, not weaken safeguards for clean water.
Message to Docket, V1
RE Docket ID
Dear Administrator Pruitt,
Every school kid who has learned the water cycle knows that what happens upstream impacts everything else downstream. If we allow small streams to be polluted, the larger rivers, lakes, and bays they flow into will become polluted. That is why I am strongly opposed to the proposed repeal of the Clean Water Rule. The streams and wetlands protected by the Clean Water Rule are essential to drinking water, small businesses, and our communities. Gutting these protections will put the drinking water sources for more than 117 million of us at risk. It will endanger 20 million acres of wetlands. Wetlands are so important – they filter pollutants from water, recharge groundwater, protect communities by absorbing floodwaters, and provide habitat for wildlife. We are losing wetlands at an alarming rate – the last thing we should do is make it harder to safeguard them.
The Clean Water Act has a very bold goal – to make all of our waters swimmable, fishable, and drinkable. Repealing the Clean Water Rule will make it much more difficult to achieve that goal. Please listen to the majority of Americans who expect EPA to protect clean water, not polluter profits, and stop this dangerous repeal process.
Thank you for your consideration of my concerns.
Message to Docket, V2
RE: Docket ID
Dear Administrator Pruitt,
I am absolutely opposed to the proposed repeal of the Clean Water Rule. Repealing this vital safeguard will put our health and communities throughout the nation at risk. I strongly urge you to reconsider your position and drop the repeal of the Clean Water Rule.
I am concerned about our water and want to see the Federal government do more, not less to protect clean water. This action will put the drinking water of 117 million of us at risk – that’s the last thing we need to do. Too many communities throughout the nation already struggle with access to clean water. Removing this protection for the water bodies that feed drinking water, filter pollutants, and recharge groundwater could make things worse.
As with many issues, low-income communities and communities of color will be disproportionately impacted by removing this safeguard, which could increase water contamination. Contaminated water can cause a variety of health problems, especially for children. In addition, small and rural communities, who rely on private wells or whose water systems lack the resources to deal with polluted sources, will be hit hard by this rollback.
Protecting our water should be our goal, not protecting polluter interests. Please stop this dangerous repeal process. Please protect the Clean Water Rule.
Thank you for your consideration.
Message to Docket, V3
RE: Docket ID
Dear Administrator Pruitt,
The last thing we should do is weaken protections for clean water. I oppose the proposed repeal of the Clean Water Rule.
This roll back is dangerous. Clean water is the backbone of healthy communities and essential to a strong economy. Repealing this commonsense safeguard puts that at risk. It will remove Clean Water Act protections for the streams that feed the drinking water sources for more than 1 in 3 Americans. It will endanger 20 million acres of wetlands that provide habitat for wildlife throughout the nation. It could allow the pollution and destruction of the water resources small businesses like craft breweries and outdoor recreation companies rely on.
Repealing the Clean Water Rule is shortsighted and flies in the face of public opinion. More than 800,000 Americans supported the Clean Water Rule when it was proposed. It is grounded in science and the law. It is an essential tool to help us to get to goal of ensuring all of our waters are swimmable, fishable, and drinkable.
Please stop the repeal process and get back to EPA’s mission – protecting human health and the environment.
Thank you for considering my concerns.