Environmental Issues > Water Main Page > All Water Documents

Clean Water at Risk
A 30th Anniversary Assessment of the Bush Administration's Rollback of Clean Water Protections


Contents page

Conclusion

Passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 was a turning pointing in the effort to protect the nation's lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands and other bodies of water. Without exception, these waterways play a crucial role in Americans' lives, providing drinking water and recreational opportunities; supporting tourism, commercial fishing, and a vast range of other economic pursuits; and providing habitat upon which every creature on the continent depends in some way.

Imperfect though its implementation has been, the Clean Water Act has been remarkably successful in cleaning up the bulk of the pollution sources that impair our nation's waters. While additional pollution sources need to be brought under control as well, protecting and continuing to use the traditional Clean Water Act tools -- tools that that have worked so well in the past -- is vital.

On this 30th anniversary of the act's passage, however, the Bush administration is working to undermine it, proposing or implementing a variety of measures that would leave some of the nation's waters completely unprotected, allow others to be used as waste dumps, reduce treatment requirements for sewage, allow more wetlands to be destroyed, and hamper efforts to clean up polluted waterways.

The nation cannot afford to allow its waters to become increasingly polluted and dangerous. Rather than leading a retreat from the national commitment to healthy and safe water, the Bush administration should focus on the business of cleaning and protecting the nation's water, move affirmatively to reinvigorate implementation and enforcement of existing provisions, and support efforts to repair the Clean Water Act's weaknesses.

EPA administrator Christie Todd Whitman has identified clean water as her top environmental priority and has dubbed the upcoming year, "The Year of Clean Water." The Clean Water Network urges her to take actions consistent with her proclaimed commitment to clean water by:

  • withdrawing the fill rule;
  • implementing a true no-net-loss-of-wetlands policy;
  • protecting the nation's waters from contaminated runoff from new development;
  • requiring sewer operators to find, detect, control, and warn the public of raw sewage discharges; and
  • preserving and protecting the current scope of the Clean Water Act and the polluted waters cleanup (TMDL) program.

These actions would stay the nation's course toward clean and safe water for all Americans. As Senator Muskie asked his colleagues in urging an override of President Nixon's veto of the Clean Water Act on Oct. 17, 1972:

"Can we afford clean water? Can we afford rivers and lakes and streams and oceans which continue to make life possible on this planet? Can we afford life itself? ... These questions answer themselves.127"

Back to contents page



Notes

127. Legislative History at 122.

All Tags [ View Popular Tags ]:
agriculture
appliances
arsenic
beaches
BeckyHayat
BenChou
bottled water
breweries
bush administration
business
California
case studies
Catskills
children's health
ClaireO'Connor
clean water
Clean Water Act
cleanwateract
cliamte change
climate change
coal-fired power plants
commercial real estate
Congress
consequences
conservation and restoration
crop insurance
crop loss
drinking water
drought
energy
energy efficiency
EPA
extreme weather
federal crop insurance
fish & fishing
floods
fracking
global warming
global warming and health
greatlakes
green infrastructure
groundwater
gulfspill
habitat loss
health
health effects of pollution
heat waves
hog farms
hydraulic fractring
hydraulic fracturing
hydropower
India
International
interviews
irrigation
JonDevine
KatePoole
KellyCoplin
LarryLevine
livestock
livestock farms
low impact development
manure
maps
mercury
midwest
NatLab
natural gas
New York City
oceans
oil
oil shale development
oil shale development in colorado river basin
oil shale impact on water
oil spills
photos
pig farms
polluted runoff
pollution
poultry
power plants
powerplant
rainwater
rivers
Rocky Mountains
rooftops
runoff
safe drinking water
safe drinking water pollution
salmon
san joaquin
sanitation
sewage
sewage water pollution
sewer
stormwater
stormwater capture
stormwater runoff
tap water
United Nations
volumetric pricing
wastewater
water conservation
water efficiency
water filters
water management
water pollution
Water Pollution
water preparedness
water readiness
water supplies
water supply
water sustainability
water waste
waterefficiency
western water
western waters
wetlands
wildfires
wildlife

Sign up for NRDC's online newsletter

See the latest issue >

Water on Switchboard

NRDC experts write about water efficiency, green infrastructure and climate on the NRDC blog.


Recent Water Posts

Discovering Life along a River of Local and National Importance
posted by Monty Schmitt, 7/11/14
Infographic: How Many Myths About the Clean Water Protection Rule Can Fit on a Webpage?
posted by Jon Devine, 7/8/14
Cool It: 8 Tips to Handle the Dog Days of Summer in a Warming Climate
posted by Peter Lehner, 7/1/14
Give the Gift That Will Make a Difference: A Long Cool Drink

NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.


Donate now >

Share | |