As Americans return from their Fourth of July holidays, a new website launched today, SaveSummer.org, highlights a major threat to some favorite summertime destinations. More than 60 percent of America’s creeks and streams, and tens of millions of acres of the nation’s ponds and wetlands, stand to lose federal protection under a Bush administration proposal to weaken Clean Water Act safeguards.
“Many Americans are returning to work today after a holiday visit to their favorite swimming holes and fishing spots,” said Joan Mulhern, senior legislative counsel for Earthjustice. “Unfortunately, by the next Fourth of July weekend, many of these special places may no longer have federal protection from polluters.”
In January 2003 the Bush administration announced a proposal that is the first step in an effort to severely limit the ability of the Clean Water Act to protect many of the nation’s waters, including many of the special places where Americans spend their summers. Small streams, natural ponds, and wetlands are all at risk of losing federal protections under this proposal.
Limiting the scope of the Clean Water Act’s protections would have devastating effects, not only during the summer months, but year-round, too. Removing essential federal safeguards against pollution and destruction of our waters will:
· remove federal prohibitions against dumping pollution in waters;
· place community water supplies at risk;
· make swimming holes, fishing spots and other recreational waters dirtier;
· harm endangered or threatened wildlife species – 43 percent of which rely on wetlands for survival.
At SaveSummer.org, visitors can learn more about this damaging proposal, and take action to help protect the nation’s waters. The website offers information about the dangers posed by the Bush plan; data on what percentage of stream miles is at risk in each state, as well as state comments on the proposal; and names some of the polluting industries that are behind the administration’s plan.
Visitors to the site can also fax letters asking their Congress members to oppose the Bush administration’s proposal, and to support a bill now before Congress that would ensure that the protection of the Clean Water Act continues to cover all our nation’s waters — as it was always intended to.
“When Congress passed the Clean Water Act 30 years ago – by an overwhelming bi-partisan margin – it clearly said that no industry has the right to pollute the nation’s waters, and that every community in the country deserves clean water,” Mulhern said. “The Bush administration is trying to flip the law on its head: under its plan, it seems that every industry deserves to pollute as much as it likes, and that no community has a right to clean water.”
Click here to watch our 40-second Save Summer movie!