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June 4th, 2015

Illinois rivers and Lake Michigan get additional protection from Clean Water Rule

U.S. EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have finalized the Clean Water Rule to clarify sections of the Clean Water Act.  This Clean Water Rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined, more predictably determined, and easier for businesses and industry to understand.

In Illinois, 56% of the state’s streams, wetlands, and rivers, including those feeding Lake Michigan, are impacted by this Rule.

“Lake Michigan – where we swim, fish, and go boating – can only be clean if we protect the streams that feed them,” said Ally Fields, Clean Water Advocate for Environment Illinois. “That’s why today’s action is the biggest victory for clean water in a decade.”

clean water rule

Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006 had made regulations that impacted certain waterways confusing and unnecessarily complex.  For over a decade, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers received requests for a rulemaking to provide clarity on protections under the Clean Water Act from members of Congress, state and local officials, industry, agriculture, environmental groups, scientists, and the public. In developing the rule, the Agencies held hundreds of meetings with stakeholders across the country, reviewed over one million public comments, and listened to perspectives from all sides.

For more information on this new Rule, visit the EPA’s Clean Water Rule webpage.

For more information on how this new Rule affects Illinois, visit Environment Illinois’s webpage.