By Elli Bell, Michigan Energy Program Intern
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. This landmark law is still protecting Michigan residents’ health and preserving our beautiful state after all of these years and will for generations to come – as long as we continue to stand up and fight for it. While, the Act has made remarkable strides in improving water quality, removing toxics and protecting our Great Lakes and forests, there is work to be done.
Pollution in the Great Lakes has led to dangerously high levels of water pollutants, including harmful mercury, which put public health at risk. Each year the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issues a fish advisory that declares many fish unsafe for women and children to eat more than once a month. It’s scary to imagine what the advisory would say if the Act hadn’t been monitoring water quality in Michigan for the last 40 years. The Clean Water Act is a vital tool that continues to reduce pollution in the Great Lakes and is a vital part of the effort to improve public health and protect Michiganders.
Clean water also means a better economy for Michigan. Our state has over 3,000 miles of shoreline; not only do we treasure the opportunity to vacation at one of our natural beaches just down the road, tourism to the Great Lakes and nearby cities brings visitors from all over the country and the world. Keeping our water clean and healthy is good for Michigan tourism and Michigan business.
Michigan is known for its Great Lakes and incredible coastline; it is our legacy and responsibility to protect these natural wonders. The Clean Water Act is improving water quality and protecting the environment across the country and, here in Michigan, we particularly need to continue these efforts to keep our state clean for years to come.
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