But sometimes, the people we elect seem to forget that. They’ve been
forgetting it a lot lately in Washington, DC and in too many of our
state capitols. But with your support, we keep reminding them how
important clean water is… to our health, to our quality of life, to our
economy and to our jobs!
This fall marked the 39th anniversary of the Clean Water Act — one of our most successful environmental laws ever! The Clean Water Act has restored lakes, rivers and streams around the country to health. Because of this law, the Cuyahoga River doesn’t catch on fire, our Great Lakes have come back to life, and thousands of rivers and streams are healthier now than they’ve been in fifty years! But instead of celebrating our progress, those of us who care about our water find ourselves defending against an all-out assault.
So far in 2011 polluters and their allies in Congress have unleashed more attacks on clean air, clean water and protections for people’s health than in the previous ten years combined.
For the first time in Clean Water Action’s history, a majority of
Rep-resentatives in the U.S. House have gone on the record with multiple
votes in favor of dirty water. That is 170 House votes to roll back
protections and stop the EPA from doing its job — and more votes likely
By no means the first of these — but certainly one of the worst — is H.R. 2018, a bill that would effectively dismantle the Clean Water Act. It received support from 239 U.S. Representatives.
Only 184 House Members stood up for clean water and voted against the measure, which has drawn a Presidential veto threat from the White House.
Clean water creates and protects jobs. Pollution kills jobs and harms local economies. People don’t want to fish or boat on dead lakes or streams. Fishing and boating are big businesses. Recreational fishing alone contributes more than $100 billion to the U.S. economy each year and more than one million jobs. Other water-based recreation and tourism yield even greater economic benefit and jobs.
Explosive growth in the natural gas development industry is forcing communities in many states to deal with “fracking” issues most have never faced before — on an unprecedented scale. The controversial drilling method has been subject to very little in the way of state or federal legislation so far.
This year, California’s State Senate and two key committees in the State Assembly approved SB 568, which would be the nation’s first statewide ban on expanded polystyrene (StyrofoamTM) con-tainers. If approved, the measure would require the foam used in food and beverage containers to be phased out by 2016. Intense lobbying by industry forced the bill’s supporters to hold it over for consideration in 2012, which will allow Clean Water Action and allies to continue building support for the ban. Fifty-four California jurisdictions have already enacted foam food container bans.read more
Nine years ago, the bush administration began weakening water policies to limit which resources would be protected under the clean water act.
Bolstered by a pair of polluter-friendly U.S. Supreme Court decisions, those weakening changes have left water vulnerable to pollution across huge areas of the U.S. Those gaps in protection now threaten drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans.
Restoring these protections has been a priority for Clean Water Action ever since. The effort to plug these loopholes in the law had been building momentum and bipartisan support in Congress. However, 2010 changes in the makeup and leadership of the U.S. House virtually eliminated any near term chances for fixing the Clean Water Act through legislation.
By now, most people are aware of the devastating impacts coal mining — especially the kind that removes entire mountaintops — can have on water and on the natural landscapes where it takes place. Similarly, the pollution that spews from power plant stacks where coal is burned is widely understood as a major water pollution source and public health threat, to say nothing of the added global warming burden. Mercury from coal plants is one of the main sources of contamination that has made so many fish caught by recreational fishing unsafe to eat.
This fall the House of Representatives has ramped out its all-out assault on the laws and regulations that have kept our water drinkable and our air breathable for decades. To help you understand what these bills and amendments mean for our environment and our health, Clean Water Action has analyzed the votes on 12 key bills.