New House resolution looks to protect our rivers, other waterways by urging the EPA to stop rollbacks
WASHINGTON-- Reps. Debbie Dingell of Michigan and Chris Pappas of New Hampshire introduced a congressional resolution today calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt its myriad efforts to weaken the Clean Water Act. Environment America is urging all members of Congress to join the 71 original co-sponsors in supporting the resolution.
“This is a moment of truth for every single representative in Congress,” said John Rumpler, Clean Water Program Director for Environment America. “Who will speak up and who will sit silent as this administration rips up protections for our rivers, our lakes and our drinking water?”
Despite decades of progress, America’s waterways are facing serious pollution threats -- including toxic algae, sewage overflows and “forever chemicals” such as PFAS. Of those waterways tested, more than half of the nation’s rivers, streams, lakes and bays are too polluted for swimming, fishing, drinking, or some other intended use.
Spurning decades of bipartisan support for the Clean Water Act, the Trump administration is moving to unhinge key legal protections and to sidestep implementing other essential regulations. This congressional resolution lays out eight examples of this behavior, such as allowing the dumping of more toxic pollution and sewage into our waterways and removing federal protections for numerous streams and wetlands -- a move that was recently rebuked by EPA’s own science advisors.
"We only have about 9.8 million acres of wetlands left in Florida and the rollback of the Clean Water Rule leaves flood-absorbing wetlands more vulnerable to pollution and degradation,” said Jenna Stevens, Environment Florida state director. "Florida constantly faces water quality challenges from algal outbreaks to sewage spills. You only need to look at communities such as Jacksonville, which faced its worst and most expensive flooding in recorded history during Hurricane Irma, to see the need to preserve our flood-absorbing wetland ecosystems. instead of rolling back our most basic clean water protections."
Tomorrow, clean water advocates from 13 states will descend upon Capitol Hill, seeking to educate their representatives on how the administration’s rollbacks would place their local waterways at greater risk of pollution. Others will express their concerns virtually. Those speaking up include business owners, faith leaders, public health experts, swimmers, and anglers who are raising their “Voices for Clean Water.”
“We know there is still overwhelming transpartisan support for clean water,” explained Environment America’s Clean Water Program Field Director Kirstine Oblock, who is traveling from Colorado to be present at tomorrow’s Capitol Hill meetings. “If enough Americans raise their voices, perhaps our public officials will finally do what it takes to fulfill the Clean Water Act’s vision of making all our rivers truly clean.”