Denver, Colorado – Today, coming off the biggest step forward for clean water in more than a decade, Environment Colorado stood with community leaders to celebrate the EPA’s newly proposed rule that will mean better protections for the S. Platte, the cherry creek and the rest of Colorado’s rivers and streams. By closing loopholes in the Clean Water Act, that currently leave 68% of Colorado’s streams and the drinking water for 3.7 million Coloradans at risk of unchecked pollution.
“With the drinking water for 3.7 million Coloradans at risk, we’re thrilled to see the EPA moving forward to protect our waterways,” said Kim Stevens, Campaign Director with Environment Colorado, which has worked for more than a decade to restore these critical Clean Water Act protections. “This rule is about securing that all our water is safe and healthy. Whether we’re rafting on the Arkansas, fishing in our favorite stream, or just drinking the water that comes from our tap, we need Colorado’s waterways to be clean and protected.”
Standing with Environment Colorado were small business owner John Kahn of Confluence Kayaks, and EPA Regional Administrator Shaun McGrath. Various groups have weighed in, and continue to weight in, as the EPA moves forward with a rule to restore protections to streams and wetlands across Colorado.
“Clean water’s important for my business,” said Jonathan Kahn, owner of Confluence Kayaks. “This matters. Perception is important. If people feel like your water quality is bad, they’re less likely to book a vacation.”
Over 100 small business owners, farmers and ranchers, and elected officials joined Environment Colorado in calling on the EPA to restore Clean Water Act protections to all Colorado’s waterways. The breadth of support was reinforced by the speakers’ remarks as they celebrated the EPA’s proposal today, echoing that whether it’s for operating a business, watering crops on a farm, or turning on the tap for a drink, everyone has a stake in clean water. “The health of rivers depends on the streams and wetlands where they begin. Streams and wetlands provide many benefits to communities – they trap floodwaters, recharge groundwater supplies, remove pollution, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife. They are also economic drivers because of their role in fishing, hunting, agriculture, recreation, energy, and manufacturing.” Said EPA Regional Administrator Shaun McGrath. “The clarification provided in the proposed rule will help industry, business and government by increasing clarity and efficiency in determining coverage of the Clean Water Act.”
“Allowing any of our waterways to be vulnerable to pollution means we leave our small businesses, farms, and families vulnerable as well,” said Stevens. “To protect the health of Colorado’s rivers and our communities, we need the Clean Water Act to protect all Colorado’s waterways. We stand by the Environmental Protection Agency in full support of their efforts to keep our waterways clean and healthy — now and for future generations.”