WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army finalized the Clean Water Rule on May 27 to protect the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of U.S. water resources from pollution and degradation, according to a press release.

This new rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are “more precisely defined and predictably determined,” making permitting easier, less costly and faster for industries and businesses, stated the release.

Grounded in law and the latest science, the Clean Water Rule is shaped by public input, reported the release.

The rule maintains all previous exclusions and exemptions and does not create any new permitting requirements for agriculture, continued the release.

“For the water in the rivers and lakes in our communities that flow to our drinking water to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them need to be clean too,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Protecting our water sources is a critical component of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, sea level rise, stronger storms and warmer temperatures — which is why EPA and the Army have finalized the Clean Water Rule to protect these important waters, so we can strengthen our economy and provide certainty to American businesses.”

Approximately 117 million Americans, or one in three people, get their drinking water from streams that lacked clear protection before the Clean Water Rule, noted the release.

Read the entire release here.