St. Louis, MO – This month, over thirty locally elected leaders from Missouri called on the Obama Administration to implement strong new protections for the state’s great waters, from the Meramec and Mississippi Rivers to our wild Ozark streams. Mayors, city councilman and aldermen, county commissioners, and state representatives and senators from across the state collaborated with Environment Missouri to send a letter to President Obama, urging him to act quickly to protect our state’s rivers.
“It is truly inspiring to see our local leaders stand up for our communities’ waters,” said Environment Missouri state associate Sarah MacFarland. “Now, more than ever before, we need leaders on all levels to speak out about importance of clean water for our health, our environment, and our children.”
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. This landmark legislation has done much to protect the nation’s streams, rivers, and lakes from excess pollution and make them safer for swimming, fishing, and drinking. And Missouri’s iconic rivers and over 100,000 miles of streams are part of what makes our state vibrant and thriving. In fact, right now the state legislature is considering designating Missouri as the “Great Rivers State.”
However, in the past decade, two polluter-backed Supreme Court decisions opened up loopholes in the Clean Water Act. These loopholes mean that up to 66 percent of Missouri’s streams may no longer be fully protected under the Clean Water Act, leaving them vulnerable to pollution. These waters include many wetlands, headwaters, and seasonal streams that feed and clean our great rivers. These streams also feed into the drinking water systems of over 2.4 million Missourians.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken steps to close these legal loopholes and to provide full Clean Water Act protections to all of Missouri’s waters. Within the next few months, it is expected that the EPA will finalize these new clean water guidelines.
But polluters and their allies in Congress continue to push bills that would stop EPA’s clean water plan in its tracks. Last month, Senator Rand Paul introduced the latest attack, which would strip the EPA’s ability to ever restore protections to two thirds of Missouri’s streams.
The thirty-one local leaders from Missouri joined over 350 elected officials nationwide in sending letters to the Obama Administration in support of the EPA’s proposed clean water plan. They urged the president to issue the strongest protections for Missouri’s waters as quickly as possible.
“We applaud the many local officials who have joined us in the fight to restore the Clean Water Act, one of our nation’s landmark environmental laws,” said MacFarland. “Our elected leaders know the value of clean water and are willing to stand up for it.”