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Hunters, Anglers Strongly Support EPA Clean Water Policy

A National Wildlife Federation poll shows hunters and anglers are willing to put aside their political differences in support of greater EPA protections for clean water, including small headwaters and wetlands. Photo courtesy of Trout Unlimited.
A National Wildlife Federation poll shows hunters and anglers are willing to put aside their political differences in support of greater EPA protections for clean water, including small headwaters and wetlands. Photo courtesy of Trout Unlimited.
August 10, 2015

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – A national poll of hunters and anglers has found overwhelming support – even among conservatives – for what has been a controversial Environmental Protection agency clean water policy.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) commissioned the survey. It found more than four out of five hunters and anglers favor an EPA plan to apply Clean Water Act protections to some smaller headwaters and wetlands – protections that had been under a legal cloud.

Steve Moyer is vice president for government affairs at Trout Unlimited and a longtime fisherman.

"People in Appalachia really do care about the health of their streams and rivers, and they worry about the threats to clean water," he points out.

The new policy clarifies which waterways are defined as Waters of the U.S. and therefore protected under the Clean Water Act.

The coal industry has criticized the plan as over-regulation, and Republicans in Congress may attempt to overturn it.

But the NWF survey was done jointly by two polling firms, one Republican and one Democrat, and found strong support for the rule even among political conservatives.

Across the spectrum – age, geography, political orientation – people surveyed said clean water is a top priority.

Ed Perry, a long time hunter and an outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife, says the poll found three out of four Republican outdoor enthusiasts support the policy.

"It was deep and broad-based support all across the country – 73 percent of Republican hunters and anglers support the rule, 83 percent of Independents, and 95 percent of Democrats," he states.

Some national farm and real estate development groups oppose the new EPA policy. The farm groups argue it would mean regulation of every irrigation ditch and stock pond under the Clean Water Act. According to the EPA, that's an inaccurate interpretation.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV