By Tom Hoffman, Western Pennsylvania Director
I grew up in upstate New York and was very fortunate to go to a YMCA camp on the shores of Lake George in the Adirondacks when I was a kid. To get from my tent in the Intermediate Unit to the Mess Hall I followed a mountain stream down towards the lake. It was always a tough choice between eating and hanging out in the stream and watching what was happening in there. Newts, tadpoles, frogs were in abundance.
It is those streams that were such a part of my childhood that are now so much at risk. Polluters, who want to hide their toxic waste under the rug (or in one of my mountain streams) rather than clean it up responsibly, attacked the Clean Water Act with a vengeance during the “polluter friendly” Bush the Younger administration – and broke it. As written, the Clean Water Act protected my stream. Now sadly, many such streams are not protected because of the decisions made by the Bush administration.
The Obama administration, under the direction of Gina McCarthy, has developed a new set of guidelines that fix the broken Clean Water Act and protect our streams (and wetlands). I’m collecting post cards supporting the fix (you can send your comments in here) because at some point, Gina will sit down across the table from the polluters to hammer out the final “deal”. I want her to be in a position to say, “I hear you Mr. Big Polluter, but you see I have a bazillion post cards that want me to protect those streams – and they win.”
PS I’m also working to get breweries to sign on to our letter because I want her to be able to say, “If the beer makers want protected streams, then I have no choice. Protected streams it is.”