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Obama Administration Delay Leaves Waters of the United States in Peril

White House sits on Clean Water Act guidance to restore protections to waters of the United States
February 21, 2013
Washington, D.C. —

In April 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a policy to help restore Clean Water Act protections to waters across the country and to return common-sense safeguards to the drinking water supply of 117 million Americans, which became imperiled after two confusing Supreme Court decisions muddled decades of clean water protections and the Bush administration adopted clean water policy that maximized the harmful impact of those decisions. Exactly one year ago today, the EPA sent that guidance to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final approval. Today, 59 percent of our streams and millions of acres of wetlands are still unprotected, subject to unrestrained pollution, while the clean water guidance languishes at the White House waiting for final approval.

Today, 59% of our streams and millions of acres of wetlands are still unprotected, subject to unrestrained pollution.  (iStockphoto)

The following is a statement from Earthjustice Vice President of Policy and Legislation Marty Hayden:

“In April 2011, we applauded the Obama administration when it released a national framework for cleaning up our nation’s waters to affirm its ‘comprehensive commitment to protecting the health of America's waters’ and a clean water guidance that the administration said ‘will protect waters that many communities depend upon for drinking, swimming, and fishing.’ When the EPA proposed that clean water guidance, a quarter of a million Americans commented to register their support and call on President Obama to finalize it quickly.

“Today, the final guidance still sits at the White House, where it’s been stalled for the last year. The election is over; it is time for the president to free this political prisoner and finish the job he started of protecting America’s waters and communities.

“We urge the president to follow through on his administration’s promise by finalizing this guidance immediately and continuing the work to fully restore our nation’s critical clean water protections, so that our families and kids can safely swim in, fish in, and drink from our waters.”

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Liz Judge, Earthjustice, (202) 797-5237

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Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.