Clean Water Act Changes Could Impact Maine Economy
Friday, April 12, 2019
BELGRADE LAKES, MAINE – The Trump Administration is trying to narrow the scope of the Clean Water Act, a change that would exclude about half the nation's wetlands and many streams. This would also impact Maine's economy and drinking water.
The Environmental Protection Agency says changing the "Waters of the United States" rule would enable more state and tribal authority over these resources. But Susan Gallo, executive director of the Maine Lakes Society, says ending protections for smaller streams and wetlands would heavily affect the tourism economy in Maine.
"Clean lakes, clean water supports about 52,000 jobs and it brings in more than $3.5 billion into our state economy,” says Gallo. “So we really need clean water to make the Maine tourism engine run."
Gallo says wetlands play a crucial role in filtering drinking water. She also warns that waterfront homes would lose value if clean water standards are lowered, which in turn lowers property tax revenue.
The public can comment on the proposed changes until Monday, April 15th, online at 'regulations.gov.'
The proposal would exclude streams or wetlands that are not "meaningfully connected" to larger water sources, like rivers and lakes. It would also strip protections from "ephemeral streams," or those that only flow after a rainfall.
Jan Goldman-Carter, senior director of Wetlands and Water Resources with the National Wildlife Federation, says the consequences are major.
"If they were able to shrink the Clean Water Act protections as drastically as they're proposing to do it, it really would not be possible to meet the objectives of the Clean Water Act," says Goldman-Carter.
For Maine resident Jason Perkins, the proposed changes would also affect the business where he is brewmaster, Allagash Brewing.
"As a brewery, 90% or more of the raw materials used in making beer is water,” says Perkins. “So the quality of that water is incredibly important to us – as important, if not the most important, raw material we use."
According to the Maine Brewers' Guild, the state is home to more than 130 craft breweries, and contributes more than $260 million to the Maine economy.
get more stories like this via email
BOISE, Idaho -- Wildfires are affecting air quality across the West, bringing hidden dangers in smoke that can harm people's health. The Boise-based …
DENVER -- The days of exponentially high increases in health-insurance costs may finally be in the rearview mirror. The Colorado Division of …
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Cultural institutions in the U.S. are facing scrutiny to be more accessible and inclusive. The organization in charge of Iowa's …
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Last month's deadly heat wave in the Northwest underscored the need to reduce carbon emissions, but advocates want to ensure low-…
MINOT, N.D. -- Many arguments are being floated about legislation before Congress that would bring big changes to U.S. labor laws. The bill has its …
Health and Wellness
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Health-care advocates called on Missouri lawmakers to allocate funds for Medicaid expansion right away, after the state …
AUGUSTA, Maine -- School meals in Maine will be free for all students again this year and into the future, but parents are being urged to fill out …
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A report outlines how federal efforts to bring solar energy to one in four American households could bring clean energy to …