Clean Water Action Applauds Obama Administration Proposal to Restore Clean Water Act Protections

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Washington – The Obama Administration put drinking water first today, taking a critical step toward restoring Clean Water Act protection for the sources of drinking water for one in three Americans. Clean Water Action applauds this vital proposal, which comes after more than 12 years of pressure by the organization and its members, urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) to close gaps in protection for nearly 20 million acres of wetlands and half of the nation’s small streams. Once finalized, this policy will return Clean Water Act protections to critical water bodies currently vulnerable to contamination and destruction in the wake of polluter-friendly court decisions and Bush Administration policies.

“These small streams are critical to the health of drinking water sources for nearly one third of all Americans” said Bob Wendelgass, Clean Water Action President and CEO, “The rule proposed today is clear, concise, and well supported by both the law and science. It’s long overdue - Congress protected these vital resources when the landmark Clean Water Act passed in 1972 and these protections were wrongly revoked 12 years ago. This proposal, when finalized, will go a long way toward restoring protections and reflecting the way that water works in the real world.”

The Administration’s proposal is not only supported by science and commonsense, but also public opinion. Protecting these sources of drinking water has long enjoyed broad support. In 2011, the Administration received more than 207,000 comments strongly in favor of protecting small streams, wetlands and other waters.  Opinion polls consistently show that clean water is a top priority for Americans across the political and socioeconomic spectrum and more than 115,000 people submitted comments applauding an EPA report that provided the scientific basis for today’s proposal.  

“The science is clear – small streams and wetlands are vital parts of our water infrastructure,” said Lynn Thorp, Clean Water Action’s National Campaigns Director. “Streams and wetlands feed our drinking water, filter pollutants and protect communities from flooding. We will be supporting the strongest possible final policy to clarify protection of all of our nation’s water bodies.”

“It’s simple - clean water is essential to healthy communities and a healthy economy. The public gets it and this proposal shows that the President recognizes it too,” continued Wendelgass, “Clean Water Action will be mobilizing our one million members to show the president, the agencies, and Congress that the public wants them to put protecting our drinking water ahead the outcry from polluters.”


Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table.


Michael Kelly