Imagine living near an industrial facility with aboveground storage tanks and not knowing what is in those tanks. What if hazardous chemicals were stored in those tanks and that leaks or spills could contaminate a lake where you fish or swim, or a river that is also your drinking water source. Wouldn’t you want to know that water in your community is protected?
They call it the Magna Carta of environmental laws; the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the foundation for landmark health and environmental protections like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. NEPA is what gives any person or community group a voice on projects that can impact our health and well-being. It's what requires governments and developers to slow down and consider public concerns.
The Trump administration’s “Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America” is the farthest thing from putting drinking water first. Case in point – rolling back one of the fundamental parts of the Clean Water Act that drove the statutory vision of “zero discharge” of pollutants into our nation’s waters.
What does it take to motivate people to get involved and fight for something that they believe in? Our recipe for change has three essential ingredients: anger, hope, and a plan.
Anger – righteous anger at injustice – is what shakes us out of complacency and apathy. Hope – a belief that things can be better – is what drives us to action. And a plan – a workable strategy and series of concrete steps – is the blueprint we need to prove to ourselves change is possible. Take away any of those ingredients and our recipe falls apart.
The Clean Water Act. The Safe Drinking Water Act. Complicated important laws with lofty goals.
We think a lot about these two laws. Together, they represent a vision that we should act like water matters. That we ought to end pollution into our nation’s water bodies. That what comes out of the tap should be safe to drink.