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Austin - Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell welcomed Ellen Gilinksy, Senior Advisor for Water
for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Austin today, and expressed his
support for an EPA proposal to clarify which waterways are protected under the federal
Clean Water Act. When finalized, this proposal will restore protections to headwater and
small streams and wetlands, including streams that only flow seasonally or after storms,
but serve as the drinking water sources for over 117 million Americans. This includes
11.5 million Texans and 864,000 people in Travis County. Ms. Gilinsky is traveling in
Texas to hear perspectives on the proposed rule, Definition of "Waters of the United
States" Under the Clean Water Act.
"Small streams and wetlands, including those that flow only seasonally, have a direct
impact on the health and quality of larger streams and rivers downstream," Mayor
Leffingwell said. "These resources are critical drinking water sources, and they protect
communities from flooding and filter pollutants. Our own Colorado River is fed by small
headwater streams that dry up part of the year, especially during times of drought, such
as the prolonged drought most of Texas is experiencing now. If we do not protect these
networks of small streams, we cannot protect and restore the lakes, rivers and bays that
our economy and way of life depend on."
Protect Clean Water
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to restore critical Clean Water Act protections for smaller streams and wetlands in Texas and nationally. These important water resources connect with rivers and serve as drinking water sources for millions of Americans. EPA’s proposal would reverse Bush Administration policies that weakened water protections in every state.
One Texas example illustrates the stakes.
In 2006, the Chevron Pipe Line Company was sued for spilling 126,000 gallons of oil into a dry creek. When running, this creek connects to the Brazos River, which provides drinking water for Waco and other communities. Because the creek was dry at the time of the spill — as more than 70% of Texas’ drought-plagued streams often are — the stream was deemed “unprotected” and Chevron escaped punishment. The Clean Water Act used to protect tributaries like this one from pollution, but ever more polluter-friendly policies have eroded those protections. Fixing this problem is essential to meeting the nation’s clean water goals for fishable, swimmable, drinkable water.
EPA needs to hear from you today. Learn more and take action to
The Environmental Protection Agency is taking public comments on whether to close the loopholes that allow corporations and big polluters to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution from power plants into our air. This same pollution is already having devastating effects on water from Chesapeake Bay to the Great Lakes to the Colorado River and is putting our agricultural and tourism industries at risk.
Please use the resources on this site to transform your yard and your community’s landscape to protect our water resources.
We are working in local communities and at the state level on behalf of sustainable water policies that protect drinking water at its source, preserve wetlands and aquifer recharge Azones, and conserve water for the future. We are working to persuade policy makers to prioritize conservation above expensive new reservoirs and treatment plants—a policy that would also save the energy needed to treat and distribute this water.
With the threat of global warming and fossil fuel prices rising, nuclear power is being hailed once again as a solution to future energy needs. In September 2007, NRG Energy filed for a construction and operation license for two new nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project near Bay City, and since then four additional nuclear plants have been proposed.