Biden Administration offers historic opportunity to advance clean water and river protection

November 7, 2020

Contact: Amy Kober, 503-708-1145, akober@americanrivers.org

Washington — The election of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States presents a historic opportunity to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and ensure clean water for all.

“We congratulate President-elect Biden on his victory and we look forward to working with his administration to repair the damage done to rivers over the past four years. By uniting around healthy rivers, we can improve public health and safety, create jobs, and improve lives in communities nationwide,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers.

“At a time when millions of people in our country lack safe, clean, affordable water, COVID-19 is devastating public health and the economy, and climate change is impacting communities with flooding and drought, investment in healthy rivers must be a top national priority,” Irvin said.

American Rivers pledged to work with the Biden administration and Congress to enact and implement five ambitious policy initiatives. The five priorities in American Rivers’ 2021 Blueprint for Action are:

  1. Invest in rivers and clean water to recover from COVID-19
  2. Reverse regulatory rollbacks and restore strong, effective federal protection for rivers and clean water
  3. Improve protection and management of the nation’s floodplains
  4. Launch a national initiative to prioritize and fund dam removals
  5. Increase protection of Wild and Scenic rivers

Rivers and their clean, free-flowing waters nourish our bodies, spirits and communities. Their lush habitats safeguard wildlife. They connect us to our history, to our future and to each other. Yet, rivers and freshwater ecosystems are among the most imperiled on earth. Millions of people in the U.S. lack access to clean, safe, affordable water with Black, Latino and Indigenous communities disproportionately impacted. Forty-four percent of assessed waterways in the U.S. are too polluted for fishing and swimming, and forty percent of North America’s freshwater species are at risk of extinction. Climate change is bringing more severe droughts and floods, putting increasing pressure on water resources across the country.

“The nearly three million miles of rivers running across our country are a source of great strength and opportunity,” Irvin said. “We are eager to work with the new Biden administration to ensure a future of clean water and healthy rivers everywhere, for everyone.”