U.S. Is Draining Its Wetlands, Report Shows

Aug. 13, 2004
Millions of Acres at Risk

Millions of Acres at Risk

Thousands of acres of wetlands have been legally drained as a result of a recently adopted policy, and many more acres are at risk of similar destruction claimed a report issued by four environmental groups.

In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that isolated wetlands that do not cross state boundaries and are not navigable do not enjoy the same federal protections as other wetlands just because they serve migratory birds. Then last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency said under the ruling, they could not protect such wetlands unless they were connected to interstate commerce, the Washington Post summarized.

The study, which was based on Freedom of Information Act requests, shows how the directive put millions of acres of rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands at risk. Environmentalists are furious over how, in more than a dozen cases, the Corps of Engineers subsequently approved development in ecologically sensitive areas.

Administration officials said that President Bush has strived to create, improve and protect wetlands and that they are just adhering to the court’s ruling, the Washington Post reported.

Source: Washington Post