Clean Water Action
For Immediate Release April 16, 2008
Paul Schwartz 202-895-0420 ext. 105
David Holtz 313-300-4454
Washington, DC – A leading public interest group in testimony today urged Congress to pass a new law safeguarding all of America’s waters, saying the public strongly supports returning measures protecting wetlands and streams across the country. “In our work with over a million members in more than twenty states, people tell us that passing the Clean Water Restoration Act is the right thing to do,” said Darrell Gerber, a Clean Water Action water specialist in testimony today before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “The critical question before Congress is: Do we want to throw out 35-years worth of progress in cleaning up our waters or do we want to continue working to make all our waters fishable, swimmable and drinkable? The people we talk to across the country, and independent polls, resoundingly say the clean-up must move forward.” Waters covering 59 percent of the nation’s waterways that are the drinking water source for more than 100 million people were put at risk when a series of court decisions followed by federal agency actions in 2003 and 2007 resulted in removal of many wetlands and streams from protections under the nation’s 35-year-old Clean Water Act. Forty-eight percent of Michigan's streams and drinking water sources serving nearly 300,000 Michigan residents have been put at risk. U.S. Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, responded by authoring the proposed Clean Water Restoration Act, the subject of Wednesday’s full committee hearing. The bill, first introduced in 2004, clarifies Congress’ original intent to prevent pollution and destruction in all water bodies, not just some, Gerber told committee members. Among the bill's 176 co-sponsors are Reps. Dingell, Ehlers, Kildee, Conyers, Kilpatrick,Levin and Stupak. In his testimony, Gerber noted intensified and more frequent flooding and deeper droughts, in part due to global warming. “Passing the Clean Water Restoration Act will protect the very resources which function to lessen the impact of these problems,” said Gerber. “Now more than ever we need federal water protections that meet the original goals of the Clean Water Act to ensure that our water is fishable, swimmable and drinkable.” Committee and floor votes on the Clean Water Restoration Act are expected in the near future. The U.S. Senate and Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the Senate version of the bill (S.1870) last week. Passage of CWRA is a priority for Clean Water Action in 2008. Clean Water Action is the nation’s leading grassroots environmental campaign organization, with more than 1 million members nationwide. Clean Water Action has been a leader in protecting America’s waters, the public health and empowering people to take charge of their environmental future.
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