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Luke Metzger
Executive Director

Author: Luke Metzger

Executive Director

(512) 479-0388

Started on staff: 1998
B.A., University of Southern California

As the executive director of Environment Texas, Luke is a leading voice in the state for clean air, clean water, clean energy and open space. Luke has led successful campaigns to win permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big Bend; to compel Exxon, Shell and Chevron Phillips to cut air pollution at four Texas refineries and chemical plants; and to boost funding for water conservation and state parks. The San Antonio Current has called Luke "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He has been named one of the "Top Lobbyists for Causes" by Capitol Inside, received the President's Award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society for his work to protect Texas parks, and was chosen for the inaugural class of "Next Generation Fellows" by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT Austin. Luke, his wife, son and daughters are working to visit every state park in Texas.

November 14, 2014

The Honorable Gina McCarthy, Administrator
US Environmental Protection Agency
The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army
Department of the Army, Civil Works

Re: Docket ID # EPA-HQ-OW-20011-0880

Dear Administrator McCarthy and Assistant Secretary Darcy,

We support the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers proposed Definition of “Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act” to clarify which streams, wetlands and other waters are covered by Clean Water Act protections, Wetlands and small streams, including those that flow only seasonally, have a direct impact on the health and quality of larger streams and rivers downstream. These resources are critical drinking water sources, and they protect communities from
flooding and filter pollutants.

For its first thirty years, the Clean Water Act safeguarded nearly all of our nation’s waters. These protections are necessary to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters,” as intended by Congress when it passed the Clean Water Act in 1972. Despite the law’s dramatic progress at combating water pollution nationally, federal policy changes in the last decade have left many small streams and “isolated” wetlands vulnerable to pollution or destruction.

These federal policy changes have called into question Clean Water Act protections for nearly 60% of our nation’s streams miles and at least 20 percent of the 110 million acres of wetlands in the continental United States. This confusion has put the drinking water for 117 million Americans at risk, including 11.5 million Texans. Millions of small streams and wetlands provide most of the flow to our most treasured waterways, including the Brazos, Colorado, Trinity, and Rio Grande rivers, and Caddo Lake and Galveston Bay. If we do not protect these networks of small streams, we cannot protect and restore the lakes, rivers, and bays that our economy and way of life depend on. We will also be jeopardizing jobs and revenue in businesses that depend on clean water, including outdoor activities like angling and waterbased recreation.

As state and local decision makers, we believe broad federal protections are critical to protecting our local waters. Water flows downhill, and each of the lower 48 states have water bodies that are downstream of one or more other states. Maintaining consistency among water pollution programs throughout these states is essential. Since the passage of the Clean Water Act, states have come to rely on the Act’s core provisions and have structured their own water pollution programs accordingly. We support the draft rule’s proposal to restore Clean Water Act protection to all tributaries of navigable waterways. Failure to do so would jeopardize water quality in our larger riversheds and estuaries. It would also put at risk the millions of dollars and thousands of jobs generated by water related tourism activities and other businesses that are dependent on clean water supplies.

This commonsense proposal is based on the best scientific understanding of how streams and wetlands affect downstream water quality. The public benefits of the rule – in the form of flood protection, filtering pollution, providing wildlife habitat, supporting outdoor recreation and recharging groundwater – far outweigh the costs. When finalized, this rule will provide the regulatory assurance that has been absent for over a decade and better protection for critical water resources on which our communities depend. We strongly support finalization of Definition of “Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act.”

Sincerely,

Roberto Alonzo
Texas State Representative, District 104
312 W. 12th Street, Suite A 
Dallas, TX 75208 Rusk, TX 75785

Rafael Anchia
Texas State Representative, District 103
1111 West Mockingbird Lane, Suite 1010
Dallas, TX 75247

Lon Burnam
Texas State Representative, District 90
1067 W. Magnolia Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Yvonne Davis
Texas State Representative, District 111
5787 S. Hampton Road, Suite 447
Dallas, TX 75232

Dawnna Dukes
Texas State Representative, District 46
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768

Jessica Farrar
Texas State Representative, District 148
P.O. Box 30099
Houston, TX 77249

Sylvia R. Garcia
Texas State Senator, District 6
5425 Polk Street, Suite 125
Houston, Texas 77023

Ronald Gutierrez
Texas State Representative, District 119
3319 Sidney Brooks
San Antonio, TX 78235

Donna Howard
Texas State Representative, District 48
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768

Celia Israel
Texas State Representative, District 50
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768

Marisa Marquez
Texas State Representative, District 77
310 N. Mesa Street, Ste. 906
El Paso, TX 79901

Elliot Naishtat
Texas State Representative, District 49
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768

Eddie Rodriguez
Texas State Representative, District 51
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768

José Rodriguez
Texas Senator, District 29
100 N. Ochoa, Suite A
El Paso, Texas 79901

Ana Reyes
Farmers Branch City Council, District 1
13000 William Dobson Pkwy
Farmers Branch, TX 75234

Tom Colkin
Gallatin City Council Member
770 Pine Grove Road
Rusk, TX 75785

Roberta Colkin
Gallatin City Council Member & President,
East Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission
770 Pine Grove Road
Rusk, TX 75785

Hoyte Davis, Board Member and Past President
Craft-Turney Water Supply
3784 FM 7475
Jacksonville, TX 75766

Dr. Elba Garcia
Dallas County Commissioner, Precinct 4
411 Elm Street, Second Floor
Dallas, TX 78745

Delia Garza
Austin City Council Member Elect, District 2
209 Sandra Street
Austin, TX 78745

Sandy Greyson
Dallas City Council Member, District 12
1500 Marilla, 5FM
Dallas, TX 75201

Scott Griggs
Dallas City Council Member, District 1
1500 Marilla, 5FN
Dallas, TX 75201

Philip Kingston
Dallas City Council Member, District 14
1500 Marilla, 5FM
Dallas, TX 75201

Ann Kitchen
Austin City Council Member-Elect, District 5
2401 Briargrove Drive
Austin, TX 78704

Adam Medrano
Dallas City Council Member, District 2
1500 Marilla, 5FN
Dallas, TX 75201

Brigid Shea
Travis County Commissioner-Elect, Precinct 2
2604 Geraghty Avenue
Austin, TX 78757

Luke Metzger
Executive Director

Author: Luke Metzger

Executive Director

(512) 479-0388

Started on staff: 1998
B.A., University of Southern California

As the executive director of Environment Texas, Luke is a leading voice in the state for clean air, clean water, clean energy and open space. Luke has led successful campaigns to win permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big Bend; to compel Exxon, Shell and Chevron Phillips to cut air pollution at four Texas refineries and chemical plants; and to boost funding for water conservation and state parks. The San Antonio Current has called Luke "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He has been named one of the "Top Lobbyists for Causes" by Capitol Inside, received the President's Award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society for his work to protect Texas parks, and was chosen for the inaugural class of "Next Generation Fellows" by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT Austin. Luke, his wife, son and daughters are working to visit every state park in Texas.