The following statement is from Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act:
“Today we celebrate 40 years of one of our nation’s effective and protective laws, the Clean Water Act. The landmark Clean Water Act is the sole reason Americans can drink from, swim, paddle, and fish in many of our waters today.
“Forty years ago, when Congress passed this law with overwhelming bipartisan support, our waters were treated as vast waste dumps and repositories for industrial filth and sewage. Rivers were burning, lakes were declared dead, beaches were closed, and children and families were warned not to swim in the waters.
“For decades, with the Clean Water Act as our protector, we made great progress in cleaning up our communities’ waters. But many of our elected leaders have spent the last ten years taking swipes at this law, weakening it, gutting it, and ignoring it.
“Today, we risk returning to those unhealthy days of dirty water. Many of our waters that were safeguarded for decades under the law are being denied protections today, and our communities are dealing with outbreaks of toxic algae slime, extreme dumping of mining waste, mismanaged sewage systems, and many other problems amid a changing climate, severe droughts, and water shortages.
“The Clean Water Act can protect us and reverse the harm—but it needs to be upheld and enforced, and updated for today’s challenges. It is time for our nation’s leaders to renew the same bipartisan commitment to clean water and healthy, prosperous communities that gave way to this law in first place. Water is life, and the health and future of our nation depend on it being protected.”
Background on the Clean Water Act: