Recently Citizens Campaign for the Environment went to Hartford, Connecticut to speak in support of clean water for all Americans. That night the Hartford City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers' proposal to clarify protection of waterways under the Clean Water Act (CWA), known as the Clean Water Rule. When the Clean Water Rule is finalized it will restore protections to more than 59% of streams that are connected to Connecticut's drinking water sources. This is a big step and sends a clear message that we are ready for our water protections to reflect the original intentions of the CWA.
The Clean Water Act, since its inception in 1972, has enforced the protection of our rivers, lakes, coastal waters and wetlands. In other words, it protected all waters of the United States. This resulted in clean water, billions of dollars of economic activity, and jobs for millions. Farming, industry, recreation and tourism all benefit from protecting clean water.
While the US has seen great economic , environmental, and health benefits from cleaner water, unfortunately Supreme Court cases in 2001 and 2006 and subsequent federal policy changes have caused confusion to what is protected under the Clean Water Act. As a result, 60% of the nation’s stream miles and millions of acres of wetlands are not protected by the CWA .This means that about 117 million Americans get their drinking water from streams that are vulnerable to pollution.
The proposed Clean Water Rule would finally restore the Clean Water Act protections back to where it was before the court cases of 2001 and 2006. The Rule would not expand the law beyond where it was prior to the court decisions; it would merely remove the confusion that made so much of our water vulnerable to pollution since 2001. The confusion that put the drinking water for 2.2 million residents of Connecticut residents at risk would finally be cleared up. The rule would restore protections to millions of small streams and wetlands that provide most of the flow to local rivers, including the Housatonic, Farmington, Connecticut, Thames and Quinebaug. The protection of the network of smaller streams that lead into our rivers and bays are the key to keeping them healthy and ensure the safety of millions of jobs that depend on clean water.
We encourage other towns to follow in the example that Hartford set in standing up for clean water. Individuals can stand up with them too. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers are holding a public comment period until November 14, 2014. The public must show support for the Clean Water Rule, and we have provided an easy way to take action!
Be a part of ensuring the clean water rule is implemented and in keeping our waterways safe for future generations!