October 15, 2009
Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449
Clean Water Act Broken, Right to Clean Water Violated
The House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing today to investigate Clean Water Act enforcement failures of federal and state agencies responsible for protecting our nation’s waters.
Responses from the Sierra Club:
"Water pollution laws are repeatedly violated, communities suffer, and polluters have been let off the hook. Lax oversight in the past and inadequate enforcement funding are certainly a major problem, but the issue is deeper than that. As the law stands right now it is unclear which waters are protected and which are not. By the EPA’s own reports, this confusion has adversely affected about 40 percent of the agency’s annual docket. We applaud EPA's commitment to step up enforcement, but Congress needs to pass legislation to restore clear protections for waters soon, before more damage is done," said Ed Hopkins Director of the Sierra Club’s Environmental Quality Program.
"Playa lakes, prairie potholes, wetlands and small streams provide essential nesting and resting grounds for ducks, geese, spawning salmon and other fish and wildlife. Stripping protections from our waters not only jeopardizes hunting and fishing opportunities, but also the jobs supported by our $122 billion outdoor recreation economy," said Bart Semcer Director of Sierra Club’s Sierra Sportsmen program.