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Spotlight: Threats to Waterways, Children, Species

Water droplet.

More than half of the country's streams would be affected by a long-sought rule recently proposed by the EPA.

iStockphoto

America’s waterways, endangered species, and children are in this month's spotlight because of looming or ongoing environmental threats.

On a bright note, the EPA finally proposed a long-sought rule to protect most of America’s waterways from toxic pollutants. The rule would reinstate protections removed under the George W. Bush administration. Affected are 59 percent of America’s streams, 20 million acres of wetlands, and drinking supplies for 117 million citizens.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency deeply disappointed groups like Earthjustice that are fighting to protect children from toxic pesticides. The EPA declined to strengthen protections against pesticide drift from fields even though the agency admits that children are especially susceptible to harm from such exposure.

The most immediate environmental threats are in Congress, where a number of bills are being considered that would undermine or gut provisions of the Endangered Species Act—the nation’s primary defense on behalf of threatened or endangered species. The timing is ironic given the near proximity of Earth Day, April 22.

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