Lipinski Calls for Passage of Clean Water Restoration Act

Joins Environmental Advocates to Promote Bill to Protect Lake Michigan and All American Waters

With Chicagoland residents bound for the beach for Independence Day weekend, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) joined environmental advocates at the Shedd Aquarium to urge Congress to protect the health of all American waters by passing the Clean Water Restoration Act (H.R. 2421).  The bill would affirm that all waters-from small feeder streams and wetlands to our nation's largest waters like the Great Lakes-are protected from pollution by the Clean Water Act.

"In the past 35 years we have made great progress in cleaning up Lake Michigan and all of our nation's waters, principally because Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972," stated Lipinski.  "But that progress and the health of this natural treasure are now being threatened due to recent murky Supreme Court decisions and administration policies.  That is why I am a cosponsor of the Clean Water Restoration Act which would simply restore protections that existed for decades under the original Clean Water Act."

The Clean Water Restoration Act would clarify that Clean Water Act protections apply broadly to American surface waters, including all wetlands and streams in the Great Lakes region-making clear that the Clean Water Act's primary purpose is to protect the nation's waters from pollution.  Under new policies and court decisions, 59 percent of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands nationwide are at risk of unrestricted pollution.  And in Illinois, U.S. EPA estimates that some 150,000 acres of wetlands that are critical to the health of the Great Lakes are vulnerable to losing Clean Water Act safeguards.

"Pollution is not partisan and it knows no geographic boundaries between countries, states, cities, or congressional districts," said Lipinski.  "And everyone has an interest in restoring the nation's waterways, whether you want to swim, fish, boat, lie on the beach, or - most importantly - just have clean water to drink.  That is why we must all work together to restore the health and integrity of the nation's waters, and the Clean Water Restoration Act is an important step."

In addition to Rep. Lipinski, the event was attended by Max Muller, Acting State Director of Environment Illinois; Christy Leavitt, Clean Water Advocate of Environment America; Joel Brammeier, Associate Director of the Alliance for the Great Lakes; Ann Alexander, Natural Resources Defense Council; Melanie Napoleon, Great Lakes Conservation Initiative Director of Shedd Aquarium; and John Gaudette of the Illinois Environmental Council.

(July 1, 2008)