By Lynn Thorp, Clean Water Action National Campaigns Director – follow Lynn on Twitter (@LTCWA)
This post was originally published at We All Live Downstream
A little while ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that the long-overdue “Clean Water Rule” will be finalized today.
In September 2002, Clean Water Act experts on our staff and among our national allies noticed troubling language in Congressional testimony from several high-ranking EPA staff. It appeared that the Bush Administration was considering a polluter-friendly interpretation of a Supreme Court case. If they got their way, water bodies that for decades had been protected by Clean Water Act programs would be vulnerable to pollution and destruction.
Thus began the epic campaign to prove that “all” means “all” and that the Clean Water Act is meant to protect ALL of our nation’s water resources. The regulatory and legal limbo in which 20 million acres of wetlands and over half of our nation’s stream miles have lived during the last twelve years is not theoretical. Polluting activities have been allowed to occur without the oversight and controls built into Clean Water Act permits. Wetlands that play vital roles in filtering pollution and preventing flooding have been allowed to be obliterated. This has spelled convenience for powerful industries that would like to be spared the trouble of the Clean Water Act, but it’s put our drinking water and our precious water resources at risk.
By my calculation, Clean Water Action has worked to stop this polluter giveaway for 656 weeks. If I worked 8 hours a week on this particular issue, probably an underestimate, that’s 5,248 hours that I have put into making sure we are implementing the Clean Water Act based on science and common sense. It’s been time well spent and all of our staff, our allies and all the Clean Water Act champions deserve to celebrate.