Every one of us has the basic, human right to clean, drinkable water. Our health, our communities, and our economy depend on it.
That’s why we must speak out about the Trump administration’s recent proposal to roll back a key clean water protections mandated by the Waters of the United States rule. The proposal seeks to remove federal pollution controls from wetlands and smaller streams that don’t immediately drain into larger waterways. The ostensible intent of the rollback is to allow landowners and businesses more control in how they manager their land.
Unfortunately, this action is shortsighted, and it threatens the clean water that entire communities and economies depend on. If the proposal goes through, critical streams and wetlands will be vulnerable to contamination and may even be paved over. This will jeopardize the progress we have made throughout the Delaware River system—including parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware—on the health of the creeks, lakes and rivers where we fish, swim and kayak, and from which our drinking water flows.
Nearly half a century ago, our nation’s leaders established the Clean Water Act to better protect water resources for the American people. That was—and remains—a shining accomplishment in our nation’s history. After decades of reckless pollution, these protections successfully helped our rivers, streams, and wetlands slowly recuperate. A smart, science-based movement arose to protect clean water, and to prevent more pollution by creating protections for streams and rivers both small and large. These protections also make good economic sense: While we might see limited financial benefits from paving over wetlands, they would come with the much greater costs of having to purify our drinking water after these delicate acres — which serve as nature’s filters — are destroyed.