The Wrong Debate at the Wrong Time
Clean water is vital to America. It is essential for community drinking water, agriculture, fishing and swimming, birds, and a strong economy. Clean water is a legacy we all hope to deliver to our children and grandchildren for their future enjoyment and health. So said Bob Perciasepe, Senior Vice-President National Audubon Society in a public statement in Washington, D.C. today (Friday, January 10, 2003).
His statement continued: Over 40% of our nation`s waters are still polluted yet today the Administration is opening an unnecessary debate on whether some waters and wetlands should be protected at all. This is the wrong debate for our country at the wrong time. Clean water is vital to every American`s health and the effort to protect and restore these vital resources in communities across the country is stalled.
He went on to state: Today`s proposal opens up a debate on what types of isolated waters should be protected under a successful Clean Water Act. This is a term that has never been defined before and how it is defined will determine the extent of the loss of Clean Water Act protection. It is important than the certainty of protection for our nation`s health, wildlife, and natural resources be restored. In a separate administrative guidance issued today on wetland protection, the Administration has failed to close loopholes allowing more filling and draining.
The statement further argued that Wetlands are important foundations for healthy and clean water for all of our communities, major rivers, and streams in the U.S. We are already losing up to 100,000 acres a year of vital wetlands and as a country we have lost over half of our historic wetlands. These resources provide critical habitat for wildlife, including great numbers of birds like Mallard Ducks and species at risk such as the Prairie Warbler, Short-Eared Owl, and Snowy Plover, to name just a few. Not only do these areas provide habitat, but they also are important for maintaining clean water and reducing flooding downstream.
Bob Perciasepe concluded his statement by saying: This is a time when we should be working to make our country`s waterways cleaner and healthier, not questioning whether some need to be protected. Most Americans feel this debate ended over 30 years ago and that we should be getting on with the work to finish the job. While we view this proposal as unnecessary, we challenge the Administration to use the process to RESTORE Clean Water Act protections to all wetlands and waters of the United States.
Created: 13th Jan 2003