Hundreds of Elected Officials Speak Out for Protecting America’s Waterways

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.--More than 400 elected officials from 30 different states have asked President Obama to protect America’s waterways. Today, Environment America released a list of 439 officials—from mayors to city council members to county commissioners to state legislators—who have sent letters or passed resolutions calling on the President to finalize proposed guidelines to restore Clean Water Act protections to many of the country’s rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands.

“Americans love their local waterways. From fishing in the Great Lakes to kayaking in Puget Sound to sailing in the Chesapeake Bay, millions of people will visit and enjoy our iconic waterways this Memorial Day weekend, yet many of the waterways we love and cherish are inadequately protected,” said Shelley Vinyard, Clean Water Advocate for Environment America. “Now more than 400 mayors and other elected officials have spoken out – it’s time for President Obama to protect our waterways.”

The proposed clean water guidelines signify one of the biggest steps forward for protecting America’s waterways in years. They would restore protections to waterways that have been inadequately protected by the Clean Water Act—including 58 percent of America’s streams, 117 million Americans’ drinking water, and 20 million acres of wetlands, which provide habitat for thousands of species and are crucial for filtering major waterways like the Chesapeake Bay—thanks to two polluter-driven Supreme Court decisions.

“Safe drinking water, clean beaches, lakes and rivers are important to all Wisconsinites and Americans,” said Rep. Brett Hulsey, member of the Assembly Natural Resources and Tourism Committees, and author of “Danger on Tap” about pollution in drinking water systems. “Whether it’s a trip to the beach, or visiting their local lake or river, my constituents tell me how important it is for them to have clean water for fishing, boating, playing, and a source of our jobs for our tourism economy. President Obama should listen to these concerns and move forward on critical Clean Water protections for all of our nation’s rivers, lakes and streams. We can’t wait any longer to protect our drinking water, our homes from flooding, and headwater streams.”

The list of officials was released as the U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote on the House Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 5325) next week, which includes a provision to block the President from finalizing the protections.

In addition to local officials, these protections have garnered massive public support across the country, from more than 200,000 concerned citizens, hundreds of sportsmen organizations, more than 140 local farmers, dozens of recreational businesses, and many more.

“We applaud these elected officials for standing up for clean water,” said Vinyard. “We hope that our elected leaders in Congress will follow suit by opposing any rollback attempts, and we are counting on President Obama to move quickly to finalize these proposed protections.”