Washington, DC -- A radio ad by actor Tom Skerritt hit Minnesota airwaves today, urging Senator Amy Klobuchar to support the Clean Water Restoration Act (S.787), which would restore essential protections for Minnesota’s and the nation’s rivers and streams. Download the MP3 file: http://www.americanrivers.org/assets/multimedia-files/tom-skerritt-minnesota-ad.mp3
Skerritt, star of “A River Runs Through It” and other films, is a board member of American Rivers and friend of Earthjustice. The public service announcements are paid for by the two organizations.
“Water is life,” said Skerritt. “Rivers and streams are like the veins and arteries in our bodies. If our water isn’t clean, we suffer. If future generations are to enjoy clean water and healthy rivers and most importantly, survive, Congress must pass the Clean Water Restoration Act.”
The Clean Water Restoration Act is critical to the protection of waters in Minnesota. In the Red River Valley, North Central Hardwood Forest, Western Cornbelt Plains, and Northern Glaciated Plains regions respectively, 60 percent, 62 percent, 72 percent, and 92 percent of wetlands are at risk of losing protections.
Senator Klobuchar is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which will be considering clean water bills in May. Both groups expressed their hope that Senator Klobuchar, who has a strong pro-environment voting record, will vote for this crucial legislation.
The legislation is urgently needed to ensure that Clean Water Act protections are restored to the nation’s vast array of streams and wetlands -- waters that are critical for clean drinking water, public safety, and fish and wildlife habitat. Protection of these waters is at risk due to recent Supreme Court decisions that called into question the scientific relationship between these vitally important streams and wetlands and large rivers downstream, and muddied the language of the law that protected waters from pollution and destruction.
On April 14, environmental groups released a report titled, “Courting Disaster: How the Supreme Court Has Broken the Clean Water Act and Why Congress Must Fix It.” The report details waters across the country, including some in Minnesota, that have lost or are threatened to lose their federal Clean Water Act protection as a result of the Supreme Court rulings and misguided policies. From “Courting Disaster:”
** At risk were Boyer Lake, a 310-acre lake in Becker County, and 70-acre Bah Lakes in Douglas County…Despite the use of these waters by boaters, the local offices of the [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] ruled that each of these lakes is an ‘isolated, non jurisdictional water with no substantial connection to interstate (or foreign) commerce.’ This determination would have meant that the Clean Water Act would no longer constrain polluters from discharging into, or even destroying, nearly 400 acres of Minnesota’s fresh waters. **
“Water runs through rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and other bodies that need protections,” said Joan Mulhern, senior legislative counsel for Earthjustice. “The situation is dire and Congress must take action by restoring Clean Water Act protections. Without such action, a generation’s worth of progress in cleaning up our Nation’s waters may be lost. We cannot afford to return to the days of dirty water.”
“Nothing is more vital to the health, safety and quality of life in our communities than clean water, and the science is clear that we cannot have clean water unless we protect our vast array of small streams and wetlands,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. “Every day of delay in passing the Clean Water Restoration Act is a day when the majority of the nation’s streams and 20 million acres of wetlands remain at risk from pollution and destruction.”
The Clean Water Restoration Act was introduced by Senator Russ Feingold (WI), Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Senator Barbara Boxer (CA), Water Subcommittee Chairman Senator Ben Cardin (MD) and 20 other Senators on April 2.
Read more about the importance of protecting small streams and wetlands: http://www.americanrivers.org/our-work/clean-water/streams-wetlands/
Read a copy of “Courting Disaster:” http://www.earthjustice.org/library/reports/courting-disaster-final-april-2009.pdf
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.