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Poll: Hunters and Anglers Support Clean Water Rule

A new poll says hunters and anglers support expanding the Clean Water Rule to smaller tributaries. Credit: bissel/iStock
A new poll says hunters and anglers support expanding the Clean Water Rule to smaller tributaries. Credit: bissel/iStock
July 23, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Hunters and anglers support restoring the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Rule to smaller headwaters streams and wetlands by a margin of more than 4 to 1, according to a new poll commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation on the so-called Waters of the United States rule.

The EPA recently clarified that more than half of the nation's streams and millions of acres of wetlands is protected by the Clean Water Act.

But Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation, says agricultural, industrial and mining interests are mounting an intense, organized campaign to push Congress to get rid of the rule.

"They have been spreading misinformation that this would adversely affect farmers,” he maintains. “Some of the critics have said, 'Oh, this is a quick action.' That's absolutely false. There's been tremendous public input and support of this kind of action."

The new survey was conducted by two firms working together, one leaning Republican, the other Democratic.

Republican pollster Lori Weigel says the survey proved that this reliably conservative group of people, namely hunters and anglers, thinks that protecting the streams and headwaters from exploitation just makes sense.

"It doesn't do a whole heck of a lot of good to protect and clean up and restore these larger rivers and lakes if the waters that are flowing into them are polluted," she points out.

The Obama administration has defended the rule, while the House of Representatives and a key Senate committee recently voted to rescind it.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has come out in opposition, as has state Attorney General Pam Bondi, who recently joined six other states in a lawsuit against the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to stop implementation of the rule, saying it's a states' rights issue.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - FL