Bush Pledge to Protect Wetlands a PR Ploy to Cover Up His Abysmal Record, Says NRDC

Administration Has Directed Federal Agencies to Drop Protections for Wetlands

Statement by Nancy Stoner, NRDC Clean Water Project Director

WASHINGTON (April 22, 2004) - President Bush is in Maine today, celebrating Earth Day by calling for saving 3 million acres of wetlands over the next five years. Given the Bush administration's environmental record, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is worried about the other 107 million acres of wetlands (in the lower 48 states). Below is a statement by Nancy Stoner, director of NRDC's Clean Water Project.

"Today is Earth Day, but the president must think it's April Fool's Day. He is touting a plan to save 3 million acres of wetlands, but last year his administration ordered federal agency field staff to stop protecting as many as 20 million acres of wetlands and an untold number of streams.

"That 'guidance,' issued in January 2003, eliminates Clean Water Act protection for streams and wetlands without any scientific justification. These wetlands protect drinking water supplies and provide critical wildlife habitat.

"It's now open season for corporate polluters to dump toxic waste, animal waste, oil and chemicals into these wetlands and streams. They can dredge or fill them without a permit and without any public input.

"Until the administration cancels that directive, any presidential pledge to protect wetlands is a public relations ploy to cover up an abysmal environmental record."

For more information about how Bush administration policies endanger wetlands, click here.

For more information about the Bush environmental record, click here.