Obama Administration moves to protect drinking water for millions of Americans

The Obama Administration proposed a rule to restore protections to U.S. small streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 23, 2013 -- The Obama Administration proposed a rule to restore protections to small streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act (CWA) after those protections were eroded following two Supreme Court decisions. The ruling has been supported by some environmental organizations, inlcuding American Rivers.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over 117 million Americans rely in whole or in part on public water systems fed by small streams -- the same streams that were made more vulnerable to pollution and destruction following the confusing court decisions, unnecessarily narrow guidance and pressure from polluters.

The proposed rule, which is now under review by the Office of Management and Budget, is based on a scientific synthesis report released on 9/17 by the EPA that clarifies and quantifies the connection between the health of small streams -- regardless of size and frequency of flow -- and wetlands to the health of larger rivers. The report builds on robust scientific evidence linking protection of small streams and wetlands to clean water, fish and wildlife, and flood control, and provides the foundation for the rulemaking.

Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, said, "Small streams and wetlands are essential to the health of our environment and communities, just as veins and arteries and tiny capillaries are essential to the health of our bodies. That is why, when Congress passed the Clean Water Act more than 40 years ago, it protected all of the nation's waters."

"Restoring Clean Water Act safeguards for streams and wetlands, and the people who depend upon them, means our families and communities will enjoy safer drinking water, reduced flood damage, and healthier rivers for fishing and recreation," he said.

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Find your connections at AmericanRivers.org, Facebook.com/AmericanRivers, and Twitter.com/AmericanRivers.


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