What's at risk? More than half of America’s streams

Over the past decade, polluters and irresponsible developers have used the courts to put Clean Water Act protections in legal limbo, arguing that the law doesn’t cover the smaller streams and wetlands that feed and clean America’s great waters.

Right now, nearly 60 percent of America’s streams and 20 million of acres of wetlands are vulnerable to pollution and development, putting the drinking water for 117 million Americans at risk. Polluters can dump into streams, developers can pave over wetlands to build strip malls, and the cops on the environmental beat can’t do a thing about it.

On the verge of the biggest clean water victory in decades

This fall, the Obama administration took first steps to close the Clean Water Act loopholes and protect our waters. This is big news—we’re closer than ever to victory. But Big Ag and developers will be using all their power and resources to bring this progress to a standstill. To get these critical protections over the finish line, we’ll need to show President Obama that the American public overwhelmingly supports clean water.

Our plan to defend our rivers and streams

It is clear that if polluters win, our rivers and streams lose. And we know that we can’t compete with their lobbyists dollar for dollar. But the public is with us—and if we can prove that to our elected officials, we can win. That's why we’re bringing together Americans from all walks of life to protect our waterways. From farmers to scientists, from local officials to ordinary families, we all have a stake in keeping our water clean. 

Our citizen outreach staff has been knocking on doors across the nation, educating Americans about what’s at stake. So far, we've delivered more than 100,000 public comments in support of clean water.

But if we’re going to drown out the opposition and convince President Obama and the EPA to finalize a rule and protect our waters, we can’t let the momentum falter. Right now, we need everyone who cares about America’s waterways to get involved. Join our campaign by sending the EPA a message today.

Clean Water Updates

News Release | Environment America

EPA takes steps to Protect Bristol Bay from Copper Mining

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiated a process under the Clean Water Act to identify appropriate options to protect the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska from the potentially destructive impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine. Anna Aurilio, director of Environment America’s D.C. office, issued the following statement in response:

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News Release | Environment America

107 Farmers, 87 Academics, 89 Members of Congress to EPA: Protect America’s Waterways

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Environment America released letters signed by 107 farmers, 87 academics and 89 members of the House of Representatives,  all calling on the Obama administration to protect America’s waterways by closing loopholes in the Clean Water Act. The loopholes leave 20 million acres of wetlands and more than half the nation’s streams at risk of unchecked pollution. 

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News Release | Environment America

EPA, Army Corps Report Shows Economic Benefits of Fixing Clean Water Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A study conducted by the Obama administration shows that protecting our waterways has massive economic benefits in addition to the known environmental benefits. The economic analysis was authored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, the lead agencies involved in implementing and enforcing the Clean Water Act. 

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News Release | Environment America

Citizens, Scientists and Farmers Call on EPA to Follow Sound Science, Protect America’s Waterways

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in an effort to increase protections for America’s waterways, Environment America staff and activists delivered comments from 29,000 Americans from across the country to the Environmental Protection Agency. The comments support the EPA’s report, Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters, which makes the scientific case for the EPA to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act that leave more than half of America’s streams and 20 million acres of wetlands at risk of unchecked pollution.

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Blog Post

EPA announces rules to protect clean water | John Rumpler

More than 40 years ago, Congress passed the Clean Water Act with a clear goal of making all of our rivers, lakes, streams, and other waters clean. Most Americans would be appalled to learn that a set of Supreme Court decisions created an open question as to whether thousands of our streams and wetlands across the country remain protected by the Act.

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