For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Caitlin Jennings, American Rivers, 202-243-7023
Gerrit Jobsis, American Rivers, 803-771-7114

The EPA Rules Against North Carolina’s Detrimental Practice on Rivers

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined last week that
North Carolina's Department of Environment and Natural Resources
(NCDENR) may not allow land purchase or protection as a substitute for
requiring the adequate stream flows needed for healthy rivers.  EPA
instructed the state to discontinue using the policies which allowed
land for water swaps pending further review. In the same letter to
NCDENR, EPA explained that certain land-for-water trades may violate
water quality regulations, and it requested that NCDENR provide
information on past applications of its policy for further EPA
review.   EPA's determination could affect all North Carolina rivers
with hydroelectric power dams, which include most of the state's major
water courses.  

NCDENR is required under the federal Clean Water Act to assure that
rivers have sufficient water flows to maintain fish and wildlife,
recreation, and water supply. However, instead of meeting those
requirements, NCDENR has been negotiating land swaps with the companies
that operate dams along rivers.  EPA explained that adequate river
flows are essential for clean water and that North Carolina cannot
trade them away.  Just as life on land needs clean air, river life
needs clean, flowing water for survival.  No other conservation
measure, even those with other public benefits such as land protection,
can replace the essential values provided by water flowing in a river.


The media landscape is changing fast

Our news team is changing too as we work hard to bring you the news that matters most.

Change is coming. And we've got it covered.

Please donate to our 2019 Mid-Year Campaign today.

EPA's determination is a great victory for North Carolina's rivers
and should better assure healthy water flows below hydropower dams in
North Carolina and beyond.  The determination could be especially
pertinent to the Catawba, Yadkin, and Pee Dee Rivers where the flawed
policy was recently applied by the state during dam relicensing

"A healthy river requires both sufficient flowing water and natural
lands to buffer the stream from development impacts," said Gerrit
Jobsis, Southeast Regional Director at American Rivers. "We applaud the
EPA for clear guidance on North Carolina's detrimental policy and look
forward to restoring rivers where it was wrongly applied. While we
strongly support land protection when it is done for the right reasons,
acquiring land by sacrificing a river's health is never right."


We want a more open and sharing world.

That's why our content is free. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported.

All of our original content is published under Creative Commons—allowing (and encouraging) our articles to be republished freely anywhere. In addition to the traffic and reach our content generates on our site, the multiplying impact of our work is huge and growing as our articles flourish across the Internet and are republished by other large and small online and print outlets around the world.

Several times a year we run brief campaigns to ask our readers to pitch in—and thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Our 2019 Mid-Year Campaign is underway. Can you help? We can't do it without you.

Please select a donation method:

American Rivers is the only national organization standing up for healthy rivers so our communities can thrive. Through national advocacy, innovative solutions and our growing network of strategic partners, we protect and promote our rivers as valuable assets that are vital to our health, safety and quality of life.

Founded in 1973, American Rivers has more than 65,000 members and supporters nationwide, with offices in Washington, DC and the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, California and Northwest regions.

Share This Article

More in: