Bolstered by a pair of polluter-friendly U.S. Supreme Court decisions, those weakening changes have left water vulnerable to pollution across huge areas of the U.S. Those gaps in protection now threaten drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans.
Restoring these protections has been a priority for Clean Water Action ever since. The effort to plug these loopholes in the law had been building momentum and bipartisan support in Congress. However, 2010 changes in the makeup and leadership of the U.S. House virtually eliminated any near term chances for fixing the Clean Water Act through legislation.
Fortunately, action by Congress is only one of the available strategies for undoing the worst of the damage. Clean Water Action and allies have also been encouraging the Obama Administration to take action. Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers responded, taking steps to start reversing the previous administration’s weakening changes.
During this summer’s formal comment period on the EPA and Army Corps proposals, more than 170,000 people, including tens of thousands of Clean Water Action members, weighed in to register their support. The White House and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson have made clear their intent to move forward.
Polluters who would prefer that the Clean Water Act be left in its current weakened condition have pressured Congress to try to block EPA and the Army Corps from doing their jobs and restoring protections that have been lost. Votes in both the House and Senate could happen before the end of the year. Clean Water Action members can register their support for fixing the Clean Water Act via online actions