Washington, DC -- American Rivers today criticized the Environmental Protection Agency for its so-called revised guidance on the Supreme Court’s 2006 Rapanos decision, saying thousands of miles of streams and clean water for millions of Americans remain at risk.
The revised guidance does nothing to change the destructive approach created by the Bush Administration’s original guidance, but instead continues to substantially limit the number of waters which will be protected by the Clean Water Act. American Rivers called on the 111th Congress and the Obama administration to swiftly pass and sign into the law the Clean Water Restoration Act, to restore essential protections for the nation’s waters.
The Rapanos decision has left thousands of river miles and hundreds of thousands of wetland acres at risk of losing critical protections. We need these natural assets more than ever, as they provide clean abundant water and protection from storms and floods. Those protections have also ensured that upstream communities do not threaten the health and well-being of their downstream neighbors. The progress of the past 35 years toward cleaning up our nation’s rivers and streams remains in dire jeopardy.
Melissa Samet, senior director of water resources at American Rivers, made the following statement:
“Small streams connect to larger rivers and lakes, just as the capillaries in our body connect to our veins. Small streams play an essential role, providing clean water, flood protection, and water supply. By stripping protections for small streams across the country, we leave them vulnerable to sewage, toxic pollution, and filling that put downstream communities at risk.”
“One of the top environmental and public health priorities for Congress and the Obama administration must be to pass and sign the Clean Water Restoration Act, so that we can be sure that clean water, the very lifeblood of our communities, economy and environment, is protected.”
“Clean water is the most valuable substance on the planet. It is essential to all life and there is no substitute. And healthy rivers, with all the services they provide, are one of a community’s most valuable assets. Failure to protect our rivers and clean water today will lead to serious economic, health, and environmental problems tomorrow.”
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.