The Clean Water Act - one of our nation’s key pieces of environmental legislation - allows millions of American’s to reclaim our nation’s waterways and make them safe for swimming, drinking, and fishing. Sadly, the Clean Water Act is currently under attack.
A growing chorus of big polluters and their cronies in Congress is working to convince the public that the Clean Water Act is a “job killer” - equating environmental protection with economic disaster. The U.S. House of Representatives has spent this year - ironically, the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act - relentlessly trying to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and our environmental laws. They are taking direct aim at the Clean Water Act and seeking to strip the federal government’s authority to regulate water quality standards. They even want to weaken the EPA’s power to enforce the law and protect OUR communities!
One particularly egregious example exempts from the Clean Water Act pesticide applications in and around public waters. Pesticides are designed to be toxic to living things. They contaminate drinking water and are especially harmful to fish and amphibian life.
This bill has passed the House and is now pending in the US Senate.
Polluters have money and that buys political influence, but there's power in numbers. Together, we can fight back.
On this World Water Day, join Waterkeeper Alliance in protecting the Clean Water Act for the health of our communities and the environment.
CLEAN WATER CREATES JOBS!
Approximately $334.8 billion dollars are needed to fund the projects necessary to continue to
provide safe drinking water to the public. “The nation’s water systems having entered a ‘rehabilitation and replacement era’ in which much of water utilities’ existing infrastructure have reached or are approaching the end of useful life (US EPA Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs
Survey and Assessment, 4th Report to Congress, Feb. 2009, pg. 3).
Investing this amount now would inject a quarter of a trillion dollars into the economy, create nearly 1.3 million direct and indirect jobs, and result in 568,000 additional jobs from increased spending. Investing in stormwater management programs would also clean up the nation’s waters. Every year, 860 billion gallons of raw and partially treated sewage spills into our waterways. Cities discharge about 40 billion gallons of raw and partially treated sewage into the Great Lakes annually (“Water Works: Rebuilding Infrastructure, Creating Jobs and Greening the Environment,” - American Rivers, Green For All and the Economic Policy Institute 2011).
The Brookings Institution reported that Great Lakes restoration creates jobs in the short-term while laying the foundation for long-term prosperity—providing $2 in economic benefit for every $1 investment in restoration. Economists at Grand Valley State University in Michigan concluded that a $10 million investment to restore Muskegon Lake in Michigan is generating more than $66 million return on investment through higher property values, increased tourism, and an expanded tax base. More than 1.5 million U.S. jobs are directly connected to the Great Lakes, generating $62 billion in wages annually, according to an analysis by Michigan Sea Grant at the University of Michigan.
The looming sequestration of funds (as outlined in last year’s debt deal) starting in January 2013 will also result in an indiscriminate 8 percent across-the-board cut to all federal agencies, including EPA and the GLRI, unless a more sustainable debt agreement can be reached this year. It’s
imperative that public officials understand that cuts to restoration programs will not save the
government money. Cutting restoration programs will cost more, because projects will only get more difficult and expensive the longer we wait. Want to create 1.9 million American jobs and add $265 billion to the economy? INVEST in our water infrastructure. (Healing Our Water 2011)