Congress Moves Forward on Clean Water Protections

Legislation reflects a compromise -- not as strong as hoped -- but groups support sponsors' strong commitment to cleaner water


 Jared Saylor, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 213

The following statement is from Joan Mulhern, senior legislative counsel for Earthjustice, on the introduction of new clean water legislation called, “America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act”:
“Today is an important step forward reflecting years of work for clean water protections. We applaud Chairman James Oberstar for his leadership to introduce America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act to restore protections for all the waters of the United States. We also commend Representatives John Dingell and Vernon Ehlers for their commitment to clean water.

“Streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and coastal waters are all at risk without this legislation. These public resources are vitally important to all Americans as drinking water supplies and for fishing, boating and recreation.
“It is an achievement to see legislation to restore Clean Water Act protections finally before the House of Representatives this Congress and we urge its swift passage. This new bill is a significant compromise from past bills that we and hundreds of other environmental and public health organizations endorsed in the past. Compromise is part of the legislative process and Chairman Oberstar is trying to satisfy multiple interests. We pledge to work with him, his committee, and other bill supporters to win passage of the strongest possible approach to restoring the scope of the law.

“There are many well-funded special interests who will do or say anything to kill clean water legislation. These polluters have successfully spread untruths, pushing their agendas to scuttle any plans to secure much needed safeguards for the lakes, rivers, streams and other waters where we recreate and drink. We hope Members of Congress will not be fooled by their dirty water tactics.
“Now is the opportunity for Congress to strengthen, not weaken, clean water protections. Spring and summer months are best spent relaxing on beaches, fishing in rivers, boating in lakes and hiking to mountain streams. We sincerely hope that Congress takes this opportunity to pass a strong clean water bill that protects the waters where we swim, fish and boat, and that provide drinking water for millions of Americans.”

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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.