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With a couple of decisions in 2001 and 2006, the Supreme Court managed to break the Clean Water Act by calling into question what Congress meant by "the waters of the United States." The existing law had been working just fine for almost 30 years. When the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, about two-thirds of America's lakes, rivers, and coastal waters were unsafe for fishing and swimming. Before the Supreme Court waded in, that number had been cut in half.

That still left about a third of America's waters polluted, and yet the Clean Water Act could no longer be counted on to do its job. Overnight, millions of wetland acres and stream miles had lost protection. Good news for condo developers; bad news for wetlands.

Thus began a long and painstaking effort by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to fix what the Supreme Court had broken. The result is a proposed EPA rule to clarify which wetlands and streams in the U.S. are covered under the Clean Water Act. This new rule would restore protection to most, though not all, of the waterways previously covered.

Frankly, clean water should be a no-brainer. Our wetlands, lakes, and streams aren't a luxury -- they're a necessity. We rely on them for flood protection and control, surface water filtration, and groundwater recharge. The health of our families, our environment, and our economy all depend on this critical resource. Today, 117 million Americans get their drinking water from public systems that rely on seasonal, rain-dependent, and headwater streams that are now at risk of pollution.

Believe it or not, though, some polluters and developers want to stop the restoration of these clean water protections. Some polluter pals in Congress even tried to tack on legislative amendments that would have ordered the Army Corps of Engineers not to recognize or enforce any change in federal jurisdiction over water pollution.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself: "What are they drinking?"

Let's get this thing fixed! Send a message to the EPA in support of its proposal to protect America's streams and wetlands from dangerous pollution!

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Comment Preferences

  •  I need clean water (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Crapper, Words In Action

    Please post this diary again. Just change the title to "Liberals Don't Care About Clean Water"

    Seriously. I can't even comprehend why this infuriating, interesting and useful diary didn't even get one Rec here.

  •  I wish everybody would think of it that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    simply.  Unfortunately the Rs with their "government overreach" BS has been doing a stellar job of convincing not just Rs but an unfortunately large number of lower income Dems that the new language is going to cost them money and make them get permits for using weed-n-feed on their yards.  They read me the list of exceptions to the "waters of the U.S." rule as if they were the specifications - which they think they are - and ignore me totally when I show them otherwise.  On 8/21 the Washington County AR Quorum Court is going to approve (over my objection vote) a totally meaningless since we have no power whatsoever to enforce it protest telling the EPA to stop its "overreach" by trying to define the "waters of the U.S." so they can protect them.

  •  They're Drinking Vichy Water. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    --As for us, we came to North America for the waters. We were misinformed.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 11:06:47 AM PDT

  •  Michael Brune Said: (0+ / 0-)
    Overnight, millions of wetland acres and stream miles had lost protection.
    Portions of this statement are false.

    Millions of acres of wetlands did, indeed, loose protection from the Rapanos and earlier decisions.

    However, claiming that millions of stream miles lost protection from the Clean Water Act from these decisions is erroneous.....and making such an erroneous claim is more evidence of Michael Brune's lack of  experience, knowledge and expertise on national environmental law.

    When Carl Pope was at the helm of the Sierra Club, our organization had a competent experiences expert in environmental policy and a steward of the Clean Air Act at the helm of John Muir's Club.

    The Sierra Club national board of directors got rid of its competent executive director and hired Brune instead to run the Sierra Club.  Brune seems determined to try to change the Sierra Club into an anti-science organization, like Greenpeace.

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