New “Voices for Clean Water” website highlights wide array of Americans speaking out against pollution threats
DENVER -- In response to a growing set of pollution threats and to mark today’s 47th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Environment America Research and Policy Center and the Clean Water for All coalition have launched a new website -- “Voices for Clean Water” -- that features photos and testimonials from a wide array of individuals from across America. They included business owners, faith leaders, public health experts and people who love to swim, hike, kayak or just drink clean water.
“People from all walks of life remain committed to the idea that clean water is vital to our ecology, our health and our way of life,” said Kristine Oblock, clean water field director for Environment America Research & Policy Center and coordinator of the “Voices” project. “Yet all too often, officials in Washington, DC are out of step with this deeply held value -- rolling back our nation’s clean water laws instead of advancing the stronger protections we need.”
After nearly five decades of universal support for the Clean Water Act, the landmark legislation has recently been under unprecedented assault -- from rollbacks on coal ash rules and direct attempts to weaken states’ ability to protect their own waterways to stripping federal protections from streams and wetlands and removing groundwater protections.
Participants of the “Voices” project got involved for a variety of reasons.
Sara Nelson, co-founder and owner of Fremont Brewing in Seattle, WA, shared her voice because she believes in their commitment to water conservation and the preservation of clean water sources.
“That means protecting the strength of the federal Clean Water Act and the Clean Water Rule,” she said.
Lani Hutch of the Chilkat Village Tribe of Klukwan, Alaska spoke up in order to represent her hometown, which is one of the oldest continually inhabited places in North America. Klukwan was established at the confluence of the Chilkat, Klehini and Tsirku rivers because of the annual salmon spawning. This site is ground zero for a proposed mine, which would permanently disrupt the local ecology.
“We recognize that our very existence depends upon the continued health of the River and our surrounding environment,” said Hutch.
Others joined this initiative because they’ve seen that the future of clean water is in jeopardy now.
When the aquifer, which supplied drinking water to a Fountain, CO, community farm became contaminated with toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the farm’s manager Susan Gordon was forced to leave. She realized at that moment she needed to speak up.
“I had always taken clean water for granted, trusting that regulations were in place to protect our drinking water supply,” said Gordon, a “Voices” participant. “We need proactive and comprehensive regulations to ensure that our water supply, a nonrenewable resource upon which life depends, is protected.”
“Voices” organizers hope that the website will inspire others to offer deep-throated support for this issue.
“We know there is still overwhelming transpartisan support for clean water,” Oblock said. “If enough Americans raise their ‘Voices for Clean Water,’ perhaps our public officials will finally do what it takes to safeguard the Clean Water Act’s vision of making all our waters safe for swimming, fishing and drinking.”
To view Voices for Clean Water, go to www.voicesforcleanwater.org.