Protect America's Waters
Shortsighted legal decisions have left millions of acres of wetlands and more than half of the nation’s streams vulnerable to pollution and development — putting the drinking water for 117 million Americans at risk. Now, polluters’ allies in Congress are trying to block President Obama from ever restoring protections to America’s waters. We need to show massive public support for crucial clean water protections.
At risk: More than half of America’s streams
Right now, more than half of America’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands are vulnerable to pollution and development. Polluters can dump into streams, developers can pave over wetlands to build strip malls and the cops on the environmental beat can’t do a thing about it. And it’s not just small streams and wetlands that will suffer — these waterways are the same ones that feed our great waters and keep them clean.
Polluters are fighting to block protections
For nearly 40 years, the Clean Water Act has helped states across the nation care for and clean up our waterways. Thanks in large part to this groundbreaking law, rivers are no longer so polluted that they catch fire, as Ohio’s Cuyahoga infamously did in 1969. Still, much work remains to be done.
Unfortunately, over the past decade, polluters and irresponsible developers have used the courts to put Clean Water Act protections in legal limbo, arguing that the law doesn’t cover the smaller streams and wetlands that feed and clean America’s great waters. They want to throw out nearly 40 years of Clean Water Act protection, leaving polluting industries free to dump into our streams and pave over our wetlands without asking for permission.
On the verge of the biggest clean water victory in decades
For years, we have been urging Congress to protect our rivers by simply declaring that the Clean Water Act applies to all of America’s waters. But, stymied at every turn by industry lobbyists and powerful special interests, we turned instead to the Environmental Protection Agency for action.
This spring, we submitted more than 170,000 petitions to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, urging her to restore protections to all of our waters and cut sewage pollution. In April, she announced a plan to do just that. In February, the Obama administration announced that it was in the last stage before officially finalizing these protections. Once they are final, this will be the biggest victory for our waterways in the last decade.
But polluters’ allies in Congress won’t give up — and now they’re threatening to stop the EPA from doing its job. At the same time, powerful corporate interests are preparing for battle: ExxonMobil threatened “legal warfare” if the EPA moves forward with its plan to restore Clean Water Act protections.
Our plan to defend our rivers and streams
It is clear that if polluters win, our rivers will be less protected. We know that we can’t compete with their lobbyists dollar for dollar. But the public is with us—and if we can prove that to our elected officials, we can win.
That's why we’re bringing together Americans from all walks of life to protect our waterways. From anglers to white-water enthusiasts, clergy to scientists, local officials to ordinary families who depend on safe drinking water, we all have a stake in keeping our water clean.
Our citizen outreach staff has been knocking on doors across the nation, educating Americans about what’s at stake. So far, we've delivered more than 100,000 public comments in support of clean water.
But if we’re going to push past ExxonMobil and other powerful polluters, we’re going to need everyone who cares about America’s waterways to get involved. Join our campaign by sending President Obama a message today.
Tell President Obama to not back down on protecting America's waters.
- More than half of American’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands are vulnerable to pollution and development.
- Polluters dumped 232 million pounds of toxic chemicals into our waters in a single year.
- Sen. Rand Paul introduced a bill that would block the president from ever restoring protections to our waters, and take our clean water laws back to the days before the Clean Water Act.