Americans Speak: Protect Clean Water!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Clean Water Action delivers tens of thousands of handwritten letters asking the Environmental Protection Agency to put drinking water first and protect clean water

Washington – Americans are demanding action on power plant water pollution and, today, Clean Water Action delivered more than 20,000 of their messages to the Environmental Protection Agency. Since May Clean Water Action has spoken with people across the country and heard strikingly similar statements:  EPA should put drinking water first and enact the strongest possible rule to stop power plants from discharging billions of pounds of toxic chemicals directly in our rivers, lakes, and streams.

“Americans have spoken and they have told EPA that it’s time to revoke power plants free pass to pollute,” said Jennifer Peters, Clean Water Action’s National Water Campaigns Coordinator, “People are tired of power plants contaminating their drinking water with mercury, arsenic and other nasty chemicals and expect their government to take action to protect their communities now.”

[asset|aid=4801|format=image|formatter=asset|title=Boxes of Letters!|width=320|height=240|resizable=true|align=left]EPA’s proposed rule, Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category, will replace outdated standards, enacted in 1982, that have allowed power plants to discharge billions of pounds of contaminants like mercury, nutrients, vanadium, and bromides into surface water every year. While two of EPA’s proposals (options 5 and 4) are achievable, affordable, and would stop nearly all power plant water pollution, others would maintain the status quo, allowing drinking water to be contaminated. In an unprecedented move, the White House Office of Management and Budget forced EPA to include these industry-backed weaker options after closed-door meetings.

[asset|aid=4802|format=image|formatter=asset|title=EPA staff looking through members' letters|width=320|height=240|resizable=true|align=right]“It’s disappointing that the White House would cave to industry pressure and Americans have taken notice, “continued Peters, "people are angry that this pollution has gone unchecked for so long and are demanding strong rules from EPA.”

Clean Water Action members aren’t alone. In addition to more than 20,000 handwritten letters, Clean Water Action members and supporters submitted more than 28,000 online comments. Clean Water Action organized statements supporting strong rules from hundreds of local, state, and national organizations, while providing expert technical comments on EPA’s proposal.

“The number of community groups, public health organizations, local business, and drinking water providers who have joined us to demand the strongest protections for our drinking water, is amazing.” said Lynn Thorp, Clean Water Action’s National Campaigns Director, “The diversity of voices who have joined this campaign proves what we’ve been saying for forty years – Americans know that it’s time to put drinking water first.”

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Clean Water Action is the nation’s largest grassroots group active on water, energy and environmental health. With 1 million members, Clean Water Action works for clean water, prevention of health-threatening pollution, and creation of environmentally-safe jobs and businesses. Clean Water Action's nonpartisan campaigns empower people to make democracy work. CleanWaterAction.org

Jennifer Peters
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