Clean water rules! We hope the courts agree.

An update to the Clean Water Act of 1972, called the Clean Water Rule, went into effect on August 28, 2015. The rule is something FMR has supported and advocated for in coalition with many local and national environmental groups both locally in Minnesota and at the national level. We strongly believe that the rule will clarify Clean Water Act protections and enhance Minnesota’s water quality by protecting wetlands and streams that feed our rivers and lakes.

While the rule is the official law of the land in the United States and being enforced in Minnesota, it is not being enforced in 13 states. Before the rule was finalized, 13 states filed for an injunction, or temporary exemption from the rule, while they tested the legality of the rule within the courts. A federal judge in North Dakota, one of the exempt states, granted this injunction.

Now others are questioning whether enforcement of the rule in all states should halt while the courts decide its legality. A U.S. District Judge in Fargo accepted legal briefs from both sides and determined that the injunction should not apply to all 50 states. Still, groups like the National Milk Producers Federation and National Pork Producers Council believe the rule should be suspended completely. Environmental groups counter that the rule is legal, and our wetland and streams have been polluted long enough. It is time for the rule to be implemented to reduce pollution of our water.

The rule has received support from Minnesotans and our representatives. In the most recent vote on the Clean Water Rule, both Senator Franken and Senator Klobuchar voted in favor of the rule. They have both also made commitments to supporting the rule as these proceedings move forward, other challenges arise and as the rule is more widely implemented to protect our most vulnerable waters (streams and wetlands) from excess pollution.

FMR will continue to track the status of the Clean Water Rule and work to ensure Minnesota waters are cleaner because of it.