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Tell Congress to protect our water and vote against poison pill riders

Posted by Kathy Attar, MPH on August 21, 2017

Clean water is a public health issue for all communities. The Clean Water Rule, finalized in 2015, helps protect the water for the third of people in the U.S. whose drinking water comes from upstream sources such as streams and wetlands, which are not protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

Unfortunately, some in Congress are trying to repeal the Clean Water Rule under the cover of the budget process currently underway.

Thousands of U.S. residents become ill each year from drinking water contaminated with human and animal waste, pesticides, and heavy metals such as arsenic and lead. The poor and communities of color are more likely to be exposed to dirty water, and children are more susceptible to it. Science demonstrates that upstream headwaters and wetlands act together to influence downstream waters by contributing clean water for drinking, irrigation, and recreation and filtering pollution.

Healthy wetlands and streams provide many public health benefits to communities. Wetlands serve as natural buffers, filtering out pollutants before they impact water sources and absorbing floodwaters before they hit land. As the climate changes and we see more extreme weather events, wetlands can serve as an invaluable protection against flooding. Without them, there is often nothing stopping floods, sediment, sewage or toxic chemicals from threatening our health.

Certain members of Congress are including unnecessary riders (amendments not centrally related to the bill) to appropriation bills. They intend to weaken environmental protections at the behest of industry. One dangerous rider would allow the EPA to withdraw the Clear Water Rule without accepting any public input – overturning longstanding processes intended to afford the public a voice in creating safeguards.

Tell your member of Congress to reject anti-environmental policy riders.

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