Dear Senator Collins, Senator King, Representative Pingree, and Representative Golden:
We, the undersigned citizens and lake conservation organizations of Maine, oppose the administration’s proposal to rollback the Clean Water Rule and reduce protections for ephemeral streams and isolated wetlands (Federal Register, EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149).
Maine lakes don’t exist in isolation. They are intimately connected to the wetlands around them, the headwaters above them, and the lakes that lie downstream. Regulations that weaken protections for headwater streams, rivers, and wetlands have a direct impact on the health and future of Maine’s lakes and the people and wildlife who use them. The benefits of lakes include:
Maintaining high-quality drinking water: Nearly half of all people in Maine get their drinking water from lakes, and the way to maintain clean drinking water is to protect the waters that flow from upstream.
Supporting our economy: Maine has more than 6,000 lakes, that generate $3.5 billion for Maine’s economy annually and sustain 52,000 jobs. Our lakes are an integral part of our economy, our heritage and our way of life.
Providing recreational opportunities: More than 65,000 youth experience summer camp on a Maine lake each year, along with more than 600,000 people (more than half of all Maine adults) who boat, swim or otherwise experience the joy of Maine’s lakes annually.
Protecting property values: Studies have found that a decline in water clarity can reduce property values by as much as $200/frontage foot, representing hundreds of millions of dollars in lost property value should water quality decline. A half meter decline in water clarity on the 143 most popular lakes in Maine will result in loss of up to half a million dollars in net economic benefit and $1.6 million in total sales activity.
For the vast benefits Maine lakes receive from upstream waters, and to support a credible scientific review and transparent public process, we urge you to oppose the “Dirty Water Rule” and protect the clean water and lakes that the people of Maine rely on for their livelihoods, their recreation, their enjoyment, and their economy.