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Buffalo National River in Arkansas, one of America's Most Endangered Rivers® of 2019.
Photo by Angela Peace.

What's Included This Week:

Last Call: Deadline to Oppose Mercury Pollution is Tomorrow!


The comment period closes tomorrow, April 17 on EPA's proposed rule to roll back protections against mercury and other toxins that would pollute our water and air, leading to increased mercury levels in fish and people.

Take action by Wednesday, April 17 to tell EPA not to weaken standards for dangerous mercury pollution!

Executive Order Severely Limits State Process for Water Quality Certification

On April 10, the Trump Administration issued an executive order to drastically limit state authority to block federal projects that would pollute a state's water or degrade aquatic habitat. The order expedites oil, gas, and coal projects by directing federal agencies to cut the time states would have to review permits - to only 60 days, instead of up to a year - under Clean Water Act Section 401's water quality certification process. The order also directs the permit review period to begin when a permit is filed, even if states have not received all information necessary to make a decision.

By short-circuiting state review of complex federal projects, this proposal would make it more likely that states cannot make a decision in time, which effectively waives the state’s ability to object to harmful projects. Read more about one such project - the Jordan Cove Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Export Project - and WPN member Oregon Wild's call for comments to oppose it.

Another executive order issued the same day would limit environmental review for pipelines and other infrastructure projects that cross borders, giving authority to the President to issue permit decisions while the State Department would only have authority to advise the President on the projects within 60 days.

Read More

Conservation Groups Oppose EPA's Revival of Yazoo Pumps


WPN members and other conservation groups are again fighting the Yazoo Backwater Pumps Project, after EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently said that EPA is "reviewing" a 2008 veto that stopped construction of the project. The 2008 veto, which was issued by the George W. Bush Administration, protected 200,000 acres of ecologically significant wetlands in the heart of the Mississippi River flyway. The Governor of Mississippi has been lobbying for the veto review, and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James, the top political official for the Corps of Engineers, has also supported the project in the past. Many WPN members have opposed the project for decades, and last Congress, WPN members fought off an appropriations rider - opposed by 87 groups last January - that would have directed immediate construction of the Yazoo Pumps. The Water Protection Network will continue to watch this effort closely.
 

Learn More

Announced Today: America's Most Endangered Rivers® of 2019
 

American Rivers today released its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®, identifying ten rivers facing imminent threats. This year’s report spotlights the threat that climate change poses to rivers, clean water supplies, public safety and communities nationwide. The 2019 America’s Most Endangered Rivers® are:
  1. Gila River, New Mexico
  2. Hudson River, New York
  3. Upper Mississippi River, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri
  4. Green-Duwamish River, Washington
  5. Willamette River, Oregon
  6. Chilkat River, Alaska
  7. South Fork Salmon River, Idaho
  8. Buffalo National River, Arkansas
  9. Big Darby Creek, Ohio
  10. Stikine River, Alaska
In addition to announcing the nation’s ten endangered rivers, American Rivers honored Ohio’s Cuyahoga River as “River of the Year.” The title spotlights the river as a national success story and celebrates the progress Cleveland has made in cleaning up the Cuyahoga, fifty years since the river’s famous fire that sparked the nation’s environmental movement.
 
In its 34th year, the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® report is a list of rivers at a crossroads, where key decisions in the coming months will determine the rivers’ fates. Rivers are chosen for the list based on the following criteria: 1) The magnitude of the threat; 2) The significance of the river to people and nature; and 3) A critical decision-point in the coming year. Over the years, the report has helped spur many successes including the removal of outdated dams and the prevention of harmful development and pollution.

Help urge decision makers to do the right thing for each of the rivers on the list: Click here to take action and share with your networks and membership.

Land & Water Conservation Fund: Bill Introduced to Mandate Full Funding


In February, Congress passed a historic public lands package that included permanent reauthorization, but not funding, for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Last week, a bill (S.1081) was introduced to the Senate with bipartisan support to provide full and mandatory funding for LWCF. Mandating funding would mean that LWCF would no longer be subject to the appropriations process each year. In past years, Congress has rarely given LWCF the full $900 million authorized for LWCF.

Read the full text of the bill here and track the bill's progress here on Congress.gov.

Selected Recent Resources


From WPN Members

U.S. Governmental Accountability Office Reports

Other Selected News and Reports

Click here to take our brief survey on what you want to read in WPN Updates!

Public Notices, Comment Periods, and Upcoming Meetings


Please see past WPN Updates for earlier notices, and visit FederalRegister.gov and federal agencies' own websites for complete listings of public notices, proposed rules, and rules. The Corps of Engineers may post additional public notices and related information not listed above on their division-level or district-level websites. Click here for a map with links to their division and district websites.
 

Corps of Engineers

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Other Agencies

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