Denver, CO– Environment Colorado released an analysis today documenting that, from the cleanup and disclosure of toxic waste to drinking water standards, Sen. John McCain has too often taken the side of polluters in opposing stronger protections for our waterways.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 47 percent of America’s assessed rivers and streams and 59 percent of America’s assessed lakes are already too polluted for fishing, swimming or other uses. Polluters dumped more than 244 million pounds of toxic chemicals into American waterways in 2006. And more than 850 billion gallons of raw or inadequately treated sewage are discharged into waterways each year.
“America needs a president who understands the importance of clean water to the nation’s economy and our environment and who will take on the polluters,” said Keith Hay of Environment Colorado. “Unfortunately, during his time in the U.S. Senate, John McCain too often stood with the polluters as they worked to dismantle America’s protections for clean water.”
Environment Colorado’s online publication documented that Sen. McCain:
· Voted against the public’s right to know about the 224 million pounds of toxic pollution dumped annually into our waterways.
· Voted to exempt the oil and gas industry from Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.
· Voted against stronger clean water rules for hardrock mining operations, which have already polluted 40 percent of all watersheds in the West.
· Voted to push back tightening the standard for arsenic in drinking water, which would have exposed as many as 34 million Americans to increased risk of cancer.
· Voted against our right to know about contaminants in our drinking water.
· Opposed making polluters pay for the cleanup of Superfund toxic waste sites—leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab.
The last eight years under President Bush represent a large step backward that contrasts with sharply with decades of progress in protecting water supplies, according to the group. Among his anti-environment actions, President Bush has:
· Moved to eliminate Clean Water Act protections for at least 59 percent of America’s streams—waterways that are critical for a variety of wildlife and that feed the drinking water supplies of more than 111 million people.
· Curtailed enforcement of the Clean Water Act. For example, major facilities exceeded their permitted amounts of water pollution more than 24,000 times in 2005.
· Curbed the public’s right to know about toxic pollution of waterways by allowing polluters to conceal more information about their toxic discharges.
· Put the interests of Big Oil ahead of the public by voting to exempt the oil and gas industry from Safe Drinking Water Act regulations..
“Time and again, Sen. John McCain has stood with George Bush and the polluters to weaken protections for America’s waterways. In Sen. Barack Obama, Americans have a champion who is willing to take on the polluters and fight to restore our waterways,” concluded Hay.