WASHINGTON, DC—With members of a Senate committee voicing their opposition today to restored protections for wetlands and streams, Environment America announced a $1.8 million campaign promoting the Clean Water Rule in five key states.
The initiative includes paid advertising, organized phone calls to senators, and person-to-person outreach to more than a quarter of a million households in Maine, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Minnesota, and Colorado. It’s part of the organization’s overall effort to galvanize public support for restored protections to 2 million miles of streams and wetlands across the country.
The full page print ads, which run in major newspapers this week, ask readers to thank the president for “restoring Clean Water Act protections to thousands of waterways across America… that help provide drinking water for 117 million Americans.”
“From the Rappahannock, to the Mississippi, to the Colorado, our rivers will be cleaner thanks to President Obama’s historic action,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney with Environment America, “and so will the drinking water for one in three Americans.”
Dozens of businesses, public health groups, elected officials and other environmental groups cosponsored the ad in each state—a measure of the broad support the Obama administration’s Clean Water Rule has earned.
“We understand and honor the necessity of keeping our waterways clean and restoring waterways nationwide so that the craft beer industry may continue to flourish,” said Willis Brown of Colorado’s Aspen Brewing Company, one of the many brewers to cosponsor the ad campaign.
“You can’t have healthy food without healthy soil, and you can’t have healthy soil without clean water,” said Heather Spalding, deputy director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, among several farmers supporting the ad.
Last week, Obama administration officials finalized the rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to small streams and wetlands that have been vulnerable to pollution and development for a decade or more. The move was backed by over 80 percent of the American public, 800,000 comments, and more than 1,000 farmers, mayors, and small businesses.
Big developers, polluting industries, and other special interests have lined up against the Clean Water Rule, however, and congressional leaders are following their lead. Today’s resolution in a Senate small business committee is one of several votes Congress has taken to oppose safeguards for small streams and wetlands.
Despite multiple votes and millions spent against the Clean Water Rule, the president and his officials have stood firm against the attacks, championing the protections for streams and wetlands as good for public health as well as the economy.
With continued advocacy from the Obama administration, broad support from the public, and strong backing from enough members of Congress -- including those representing the five key states -- the Clean Water Rule can survive attacks from the polluters, said Environment America.
“We want to make sure senators from these states know how popular the Clean Water Rule is,” said Rumpler, “and that they continue to stand up for our rivers, lakes, and drinking water every step of the way.”