October 17, 2012
We reflect on the importance of the Clean Water Act on its 40th anniversary.
This week, Prairie Rivers Network is celebrating the Clean Water Act, the law that provides the foundation for much of our work to protect Illinois’ waters for people, fish, and wildlife. We will also pause to critically reflect on how the Act can be strengthened.
The Clean Water Act is one of our most critical environmental laws. It provides the foundation for us to ensure that our rivers, streams and lakes are healthy enough to support fishing, swimming and drinking–uses other than just industrial ones. And, most importantly, the Act allows people to take their complaints to officials whose job it is to protect the people’s water resources.
In reality, not many ordinary people have the time and expertise to pursue cases against the pollution of their waters. It is not easy to see a complaint through to resolution. The problem itself must be proven. The sources of the problem must be clearly identified. The problem and source must be legally documented. Finally, one must have enough power and stamina to stand by a case against deeper-pocketed interests.
That’s where Prairie Rivers Network can help. Thanks to the support from our members across the state, we use our scientific, legal and community organizing expertise to prevent pollution. For over a decade, Prairie Rivers Network has used the Clean Water Act to strengthen countless water pollution permits, to bring enforcement cases against illegal polluters, and to challenge and change agency practices that allowed too much water pollution.
Your financial support enables us to apply the power of the
Clean Water Act to help people protect their water.
And while we will celebrate the true progress of the last 40 years, Prairie Rivers Network continues to support efforts to strengthen the Clean Water Act. Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006 removed protections from wetlands and intermittent or seasonal streams because of inconsistent language in the Act. We have argued that Congress should fix these inconsistencies and return protection to the broad range of waters that was originally envisioned by Congress.
What can you do to celebrate?
Make a donation to Prairie Rivers Network.
Watch and Share Minnesota Congressman Oberstar’s fantastic Clean Water Act 40th Anniversary video.