The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a proposal yesterday that critics say would expand the reach of the Clean Water Act to cover most creeks and wetlands across the country.
The EPA says the rule would not broaden its jurisdiction. It says the rule just clarifies that most seasonal and rain-dependent streams are protected, as are wetlands near streams. The agency’s website says it does not cover ditches or groundwater. The EPA plans a 90-day public outreach tour to explain the rule.
The EPA’s emphasis is on protecting seasonal waterways, which is a big issue in arid Western states. But Sen. Lisa Murkowski says it would have a large impact on Alaska, too, because the state has abundant wetlands. She says the rule could effectively give the federal government control over most of the state, threatening access and development.
Watch EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s overview of the rule:
- U.S. Senate leaders postponed a vote on their health care reform bill, but Alaskans opposed to the bill aren’t letting up. One Alaskan, a three-time cancer survivor, went to Washington to make his pitch directly.
- Oprah Winfrey and some of her friends will be cruising through Alaska next month. Forbes reports that the seven-day Holland America cruise "Share the Adventure" departs from Seattle on July 15 on July 15. The 2,104-passenger ship will visit Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, Sitka and other Alaskan sites.
- In a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, 55 percent of Americans say they disapprove of the Senate GOP bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.