An open letter to State Governors & Legislatures (Mo. only)
Protect Missouri's Water: Oppose Threats to Clean Water and Natural Resources!
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I am writing to express my grave concerns regarding the proposed bills HB1691 (Van Schoiack), SB981 (Black), and HB2561 (Gregory), and I urge you to oppose them in the strongest possible terms. These bills pose a significant threat to the health and well-being of our communities, our environment, and our water resources. HB1691 and SB981 seek to weaken protections against water pollution by altering the definition of "Waters of the State." This definition, which determines the water bodies under the jurisdiction of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), is a critical safeguard against environmental degradation and public health risks. By compelling the MDNR to adhere to the federal "Waters of the U.S." definition, these bills grant regulatory authority over our state's water bodies to federal agencies, potentially undermining state sovereignty and local control over water resources. The consequences of these bills are far-reaching and deeply concerning. They exclude most groundwater from the "Waters of the State" definition, weaken protections for wetlands, and create confusion regarding the classification of "lakes" and "ponds." Groundwater serves as the primary drinking water source for nearly half of Missourians, and wetlands play a crucial role in natural water purification. By diminishing protections for both, HB1691 and SB981 jeopardize public health, increase the costs of municipal water treatment, and compromise the integrity of our water resources. Furthermore, wetlands play a vital role in flood mitigation, especially as heavy precipitation events become more frequent due to climate change. Stripping the MDNR of its authority to protect wetlands could exacerbate flood risks for nearby communities and hinder conservation efforts for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation areas, thereby undermining public safety and recreational opportunities. It is imperative to maintain our current water regulations, which have been effective for over five decades. Changing these definitions, as proposed by HB1691 and SB981, risks plunging our state into costly litigation and creating confusion for regulated entities, including manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers. Moreover, the proposed bills would force expensive water studies to determine which bodies qualify as "waters of the state," disrupting the state government's ability to fulfill its duty of protecting water resources effectively. Missouri voters have consistently demonstrated their commitment to clean water through initiatives like the Parks and Soil tax, underscoring their desire for robust pollution reduction efforts. These bills undermine the will of Missouri voters and hinder progress toward cleaner waterways, betraying the trust of the people. I also urge you to stand against HB2561 (Gregory). This bill seeks to redefine "water contaminant source," paving the way for an unprecedented EPA takeover of all water pollution control programs in Missouri. Such a takeover, known as "dedelegation," would strip the MDNR of its authority, leaving federal bureaucrats to write permits, enforce regulations, and prosecute violations throughout the state. The consequences of this drastic measure would be dire, undermining local knowledge and expertise, impeding the state's ability to address major pollution issues, and jeopardizing Missouri's water quality and interstate relationships. In conclusion, the passage of HB1691, SB981, and HB2561 would constitute a grave disservice to the people of Missouri and a betrayal of our collective responsibility to protect our water resources. I implore you to heed the voices of concerned citizens and stakeholders, reject these harmful bills, and uphold our duty to preserve the integrity of our waterways for generations to come.
▶ Created on February 12 by MO Residents
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