Our Blogs‎ > ‎Clean Water Blog‎ > ‎

This is Worth Protecting. Happy 45th Anniversary to our Nation's Clean Water Act.

posted Nov 3, 2017, 1:20 PM by Hannah Coughlin   [ updated Nov 3, 2017, 1:30 PM ]

There are few things more fundamental to our health and well-being than clean water.

October 18 marked the 45th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. This landmark law was designed to protect all of our waters – from the smallest streams to the mightiest rivers – from pollution and destruction.

Forty-five years ago our rivers and lakes were fouled by decades of pollution. The Cuyahoga River was so polluted it caught on fire. The Clean Water Act helped turn the page, ushering in a new era of healthier waters for fishing, swimming and boating nationwide.

The Act represented a huge step forward by requiring states to set clean water standards to protect uses such as swimming, fishing, and drinking, and for the regulation of pollution discharges.


Thanks to the Clean Water Act:

  • Billions of pounds of pollution have been kept out of our rivers. 
  • The number of waters that meet clean water goals nationwide has doubled – with direct benefits for drinking water, public health, recreation, and wildlife. 
  • Healthier rivers support an outdoor recreation industry worth billions, delivering jobs and economic benefits to our communities.
  • Our families have safer places to enjoy the outdoors, from urban riverfront parks to fishing and boating in lakes and bays.


A safety net for citizens.

Especially in the case of large, industrial pollution with little accountability, the Clean Water Act provides a safety net for citizens to stand up to those compromising public waters — no matter how big the polluter. When education, cooperation, and policy enforcement fail to protect our water resources, the North Sound Baykeeper turns to the Clean Water Act. And when we win a Clean Water Act suit against a polluter, we never see any money from that case. All the fines pay for restoration projects agreed upon by all litigants.

Read more about what happens to Clean Water Act settlement funds.


Under attack.

Sadly, so much of the progress we’ve made over the past 45 years is in danger of being wiped out. The Trump Administration and members of Congress are pushing to gut clean water protections, taking us back to the days of polluted rivers, fish kills and health risks.

Congress must oppose any attempt to sneak rollbacks to clean water protections into a budget deal. We need our elected representatives to stand up for people, not corporate polluters.

We need to be doing more, not less, to protect clean water by reining in harmful polluting industries like industrial agriculture, oil and gas operations, and mining. Republican leaders in Congress want major cuts to EPA's budget. That would give polluters a free pass to cause direct harm to public health and the environment -- all while raking in huge profits.

EPA efforts to protect public health and drinking water is based in sound research and science. Ensuring that EPA has the funding to protect drinking water is vital. Cuts to EPA's budget will harm this vital research and impact EPA's ability to make sound decisions to protect health and water.

Congress has a moral obligation to stand up for the health of our children. This includes protecting our clean drinking water and the rivers that flow through our communities for future generations.

America has spoken. 

Families will not accept a future of more polluted rivers and more dirty water flowing through our taps, our communities, and our bodies. Millions of Americans have spoken loudly and will continue to insist that we protect clean water, not polluter profits.

Since 2014 more than a million Americans have told EPA that protecting clean water should be a national priority. Most recently hundreds of thousands have spoken out against EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's proposal to put drinking water at risk by repealing the Clean Water Rule.

While slashing safeguards for clean water will impact all of Americans, low-income communities and communities of color could bear the brunt of this assault. These communities often suffer the impacts of failing infrastructure and polluted water and air more acutely, casing a variety of health problems. Canceling the protections for clean water could amplify these problems and put families and individuals are even greater risk of poor health outcomes.

RE Sources will be doing everything within our power to protect and uphold Clean Water Act. Please subscribe to our Clean Water monthly e-newsletter to stay up to speed on ways you can help.

“The pollution of our rivers, lakes and streams degrades the quality of American life. Cleaning up the nation’s waterways is a matter of urgent concern to me.” -- President Richard Nixon

“No one has the right to use America’s rivers and America’s waterways that belong to all the people as a sewer. The banks of a river may belong to one man or one industry or one State, but the waters which flow between the banks should belong to all the people.” — President Lyndon B. Johnson

Comments