FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 18, 2002|
Contact: Andy Mele, Executive Director, 845-454-7673 x121
Press photos are available at the bottom of this page.
Pete Seeger Named Clean Water Hero
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY - Environmental leader and famed folk musician
Pete Seeger was named a Clean Water Hero today for promoting passage
of and keeping alive the promise of the Clean Water Act, one of the most
successful environmental laws in this country. Signed into law 30 years
ago today, the Act reflects our governments promise to protect and
restore Americas waterways, thus ensuring clean, safe rivers, lakes and
coastal waters for kids and communities.
For more than half a century. Mr. Seeger has championed the environment
and social justice. In 1966, when the Hudson River was rank with raw
sewage, toxic chemicals, oil pollution and bacteria, too anoxic to
support fish life over many miles of its length, he announced plans to
build a boat to save the river. In 1969, two thousand people attended
the launching of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.
In 1970, the Clearwater sailed to Washington, D.C. with Pete and fellow
musician Don McLean to highlight the plight of the Hudson and the need
to protect our waterways. Mr. Seeger lead the Clearwater organizations
constituents in collecting petitions, writing elected officials, and
lobbying for the bills passage because it offered a long-term solution
beyond punitive fines.
Mr. Seeger articulated in words and music his vision of a fully-restored
Hudson. He sang songs, spoke to thousands, and galvanized mass national
support for the Act, signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1972.
Propelled by his vision, Clearwater members have initiated or joined
virtually every significant battle to protect and restore the Hudson
River, its estuary, tributaries and wetlands.
No one person can take credit for something like clean water, but if I
had to name one person to be recognized for placing the plight of
Americas waterways before the public, Pete Seeger would be the one,
said Clearwater Executive Director Andy Mele. Pete Seeger is an
American icon of environmental stewardship. Largely because of Pete, the
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater is recognized around the world as the
symbol of river protection and the fight for clean water.
Since adoption of the Act, Mr. Seegers fight to save the Hudson has
grown into an innovative template for environmental education and
protection. More than 400,000 school children and tens of thousands of
adults have sailed aboard the Clearwater locally and dozens of national
and international programs have been modeled after the ship-based
environmental education programs pioneered by Clearwater.
Now, 83, Mr. Seeger is one of 30 award recipients bestowed the hero
honor by the Washington, DC-based Clean Water Network, a national
alliance of more than 1,100 organizations striving to prevent pollution,
protect ecosystems, enforce the law and close its loopholes.
These clean water heroes exemplify the American values of hard work,
public service, and environmental stewardship, said Merritt Frey,
watershed restoration program director for the Clean Water Network.
Other heroes bestowed the award include, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. of
The sloop Clearwater, soul of the Hudson River, has been sailing for 33
years. More than 400,000 schoolchildren and another 250,000 adults have
participated directly in Clearwaters ship-board and land based
education programs. Members of this Clearwater Generation are active
and informedand they vote! The Clean Water Network, a national
alliance of over 1,100 organizations, aims to prevent pollution and
achieve zero discharge, protect critical ecosystems and enforce the law
and close the loopholes. Pete Seegers bio can be found online at: