For decades, the Clean Water Act has protected our nation’s lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands from unregulated pollution and destruction. But now these vital protections are seriously threatened. However, the U.S. Senate is poised to vote on the Barrasso-Heller Amendment to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 (H. R. 2354), perhaps as soon as the week after Thanksgiving holidays.
As one of the first and most influential environmental groups in the nation, Clearwater has played an important role in the passage of laws to clean up the nation’s waters. In 1972, Pete Seeger and crew sailed the sloop Clearwater to Washington, DC while Congress was debating the Clean Water Act. Seeger personally delivered a petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures to Congress and then proceeded to hold a spontaneous concert in the halls of Congress. This was the turning point that led to the passage of the Clean Water Act.
Thanks to the Clean Water Act, our nation’s waters are far cleaner today than when the law was passed and are now more fishable, swimmable and drinkable. The Clean Water Act has protected wetlands, so critical to helping filter pollutants and limit flooding and is a landmark piece of legislation for our nation.
But the Senate is considering a proposal to permanently block protections ensured by the Clean Water Act. This rider to the fiscal year 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill would permanently block efforts to protect the nation’s most fragile waters. The amendment would prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from clarifying the extent to which wetlands and intermittent streams are protected under the Clean Water Act.
This pro-polluter amendment could jeopardize many headwater and other critical streams; those kinds of streams benefit more than 117 million Americans, who get at least some of their drinking water from public systems that rely on such streams for all or part of their water supply.
Americans across the political spectrum care deeply about clean water. They want more safeguards for their rivers, their beaches and their drinking water, and they know that clean water supports jobs in recreation, tourism and commercial fishing.
Clearwater is calling for citizens to take action to ensure that America’s Clean Water Act is not further diluted and urging individuals to contact their senators and tell them to VOTE NO on the Barrasso-Heller Dirty Water Amendment to H.R. 2354. Citizens are requested to take action today and make the effort to urge every Senator to stand for the American people and the clean water they deserve, not with big polluters.
Citizens can call the Capitol Hill directory at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected.
New Yorker’s can contact Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office at http://gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/ or 202 224-4451; or contact Senator Chuck Schumer’s office at https://schumer.senate.gov/Contact/contact_chuck.cfm , or 202 224-6542.