Obama Administration Acts to Protect Drinking Water and Critical Water Resources
Washington – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took important steps to protect vital water resources. For more than a decade, Clean Water Action has called upon EPA to clarify Clean Water Act protections for nearly 20 million acres of wetlands and half of the nation’s small streams. These water bodies are critical to the health of drinking water sources relied on by nearly one third of Americans. Today’s release of a draft groundbreaking scientific study and transmission of a draft rule for interagency review confirm the Obama Administration’s commitment to protecting these vital parts of our water infrastructure.
“With today’s announcement, the Administration is acknowledging that clean water is essential for healthy communities and a healthy environment,” said Clean Water Action’s National Campaigns Director Lynn Thorp. “Clean Water Action will be mobilizing its one million members and water experts to engage in these critical science and policy processes.”
Today’s scientific and policy actions address vulnerability of critical water bodies in the wake of polluter-friendly court decisions and Bush Administration policies which resulted in gaps in Clean Water Act protection for streams and wetlands. Americans overwhelmingly support restoring protections. In 2011, the Administration received 230,000 public comments on draft policy guidelines; more than 90 percent were in strong support of protecting small streams, wetlands and other waters. Opinion polls consistently show that clean water is a top priority for Americans across the political and socioeconomic spectrum.
“Protecting these streams and wetlands is a no-brainer,” said Jennifer Peters, Clean Water Action’s National Water Campaigns Coordinator, “These wetlands filter pollutants from our drinking water and mitigate flooding – it’s amazing that we’ve allowed them to be vulnerable for so long”