Environment America hailed the Obama administration for releasing a proposed guidance that, if adopted, would restore Clean Water Act protections to vital streams across the country and protect American’s drinking water. In response to the announcement, Environment America is launching a major initiative to build support for clean water protections.
“Right now, waters like the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, and Long Island Sound are at risk as the very streams that feed them and the wetlands that keep them clean may no longer be protected by the Clean Water Act. We need to stop giving polluters a free pass and start protecting our waterways and our drinking water,” said Piper Crowell, Clean Water Advocate for Environment America.
One of America’s core environmental laws, the original Clean Water Act was intended to protect all of our waters from harmful pollution. But over the past decade, developers and others have used litigation to create loopholes in the Act, leaving thousands of streams and millions of acres of wetlands likely beyond its scope.
According to EPA data, this means that 59% of the streams across the country and waters that feed the drinking water supplies of more than 117 million Americans may no longer be protected by the Clean Water Act.
“Restoring Clean Water Act protections to all our waters is crucial to our health, economy, and environment. The clean water guidance released today will take a much needed step towards restoring Clean Water Act protections to these vital waterways,” said Crowell.
In response to today’s announcement, in more than a dozen states from Colorado to Iowa and New Hampshire, Environment America and its affiliates are launching a major campaign to support the restoring Clean Water Act protections. The group has already enlisted the support of sportsmen, farmers, and health professionals and has set up field offices to talk with more than half a million Americans about clean water this summer.
“Americans want clean water. In fact, whenever we talk to people across the country about this issue, they are simply appalled to learn that the Clean Water Act might no longer protect their favorite local stream.
“In the face of powerful polluters who want to continue fouling our waterways without limit, President Obama is showing true courage in moving forward to protect America’s waters,” continued Crowell “Environment America is ready to mobilize Americans to show that the public is on the side of our cherished waterways and clean drinking water.”