By Lynn Thorp, National Programs Coordinator
Today is the 39th anniversary of the landmark Clean Water Act. Since Clean Water Action was founded as the idea became law, it’s a meaningful date for us. The idea then was that the long struggle to point to our nation’s water problems and win a national solution was not over when President Nixon signed the bill into law. In fact, the struggle was just beginning.
With a goal like “zero discharge of pollution” into our nation’s water by the middle 1980’s, we knew it would not be easy! The Clean Water Act includes numerous programs and many ambitious activities. Not all of them have been put in place yet. And every step of the way, those who profit from unfettered ability to pollute and damage our water resources have put their money and power to work to try to limit the Act’s scope or to question the federal government’s role in protecting our water resources.
Just this year, these anti-clean water activities were in the headlines. When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took action to close gaps in protection, the American Petroleum Institute told the White House to expect legal warfare. Some members of Congress didn’t like EPA’s crackdown on mountaintop removal mining and nutrient pollution, so they sponsored and won a floor vote on the bill we call “A Temper Tantrum in Writing.”
We think people want clean drinkable swimmable fishable water and they expect government to play a role in achieving that goal. We intend to keep fighting these attacks on the Clean Water Act as we have this year and for the last 40. Whether you see us at your door, hear us on your phone, link to us online or meet us where policymakers are at work we hope you will join us.