National clean water framework affirms commitment to healthy waterways

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 27, 2011 -- A national clean water framework released by the Obama administration recognizes the importance of clean water and healthy watersheds to our economy, environment and communities...

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 27, 2011 -- A national clean water framework released by the Obama administration recognizes the importance of clean water and healthy watersheds to our economy, environment and communities.

It showcases the administration's strong commitment to protecting the health of America's waters and emphasizes the importance of partnerships and coordination with states, local communities, stakeholders and the public.

The framework outlines a series of actions -- some already underway and some planned -- across federal agencies to ensure the integrity of the nation's waters. It includes draft federal guidance to clarify which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act nationwide; innovative partnerships and programs to improve water quality and water efficiency; and initiatives to revitalize communities and economies by restoring rivers and critical watersheds.

"The steps we're outlining today will be instrumental to protecting the waters of the United States, and ensuring that the vital natural resources our communities depend on for their health and their economy are safeguarded for generations to come," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "After four decades of progress on clean water, there is still work to be done to address unfinished business and tackle new threats to our waters. American families and businesses are counting on us to maintain and improve the rivers, lakes, streams and other waters that support thousands of communities and millions of jobs across the country."

Some of the highlights of the framework include:

Promoting Innovative Partnerships
Federal agencies are partnering with states, tribes, local governments and diverse stakeholders on innovative approaches to restore urban waters, promote sustainable water supplies, and develop new incentives for farmers to protect clean water.

Enhancing Communities and Economies by Restoring Important Water Bodies
The Obama administration is dedicating unprecedented attention to restoring iconic places like the Chesapeake Bay, California Bay-Delta, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and Everglades, investing in action and helping states, local governments and stakeholders find pollution control solutions that are tailored to their specific needs.

Innovating for More Water Efficient Communities
The administration is working with policymakers, consumers, farmers and businesses to save water -- and save money -- through 21st century water management policies and technology.

Ensuring Clean Water to Protect Public Health
The Obama administration is aggressively pursuing new ways to protect public health by reducing contaminants in Americans' drinking water. We are updating drinking water standards, protecting drinking water sources, modernizing the tools available to communities to meet their clean water requirements, and providing affordable clean water services in rural communities.

Enhancing Use and Enjoyment of our Waters
The administration is promoting stewardship of America's waters through innovative programs and partnerships. These efforts include expanding access to waterways for recreation, protecting rural landscapes, and promoting public access to private lands for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.

Updating the Nation's Water Policies
The administration is strengthening protection of America's waters and American communities. We are modernizing water resources guidelines, and updating federal guidance on where the Clean Water Act applies nationwide. The draft guidance will protect waters that many communities depend upon for drinking, swimming, and fishing, and provide clearer, more predictable guidelines for determining which water bodies are protected from pollution under the Clean Water Act. The guidance is open for 60 days of public comment to all allow all stakeholders to provide input and feedback before it is finalized.

Supporting Science to Solve Water Problems
The administration is using the latest science and research to improve water policies and programs and identify and address emerging pollution challenges.

For more information, please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/clean-water

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