Protect America's Waterways

What's at risk? More than half of America’s streams

Over the past decade, polluters and irresponsible developers have used the courts to put Clean Water Act protections in legal limbo, arguing that the law doesn’t cover the smaller streams and wetlands that feed and clean America’s great waters.

Right now, nearly 60 percent of America’s streams and 20 million of acres of wetlands are vulnerable to pollution and development, putting the drinking water for 117 million Americans at risk. Polluters can dump into streams, developers can pave over wetlands to build strip malls, and the cops on the environmental beat can’t do a thing about it.

On the verge of the biggest clean water victory in decades

This fall, the Obama administration took first steps to close the Clean Water Act loopholes and protect our waters. This is big news—we’re closer than ever to victory. But Big Ag and developers will be using all their power and resources to bring this progress to a standstill. To get these critical protections over the finish line, we’ll need to show President Obama that the American public overwhelmingly supports clean water.

Our plan to defend our rivers and streams

It is clear that if polluters win, our rivers and streams lose. And we know that we can’t compete with their lobbyists dollar for dollar. But the public is with us—and if we can prove that to our elected officials, we can win. That's why we’re bringing together Americans from all walks of life to protect our waterways. From farmers to scientists, from local officials to ordinary families, we all have a stake in keeping our water clean. 

Our citizen outreach staff has been knocking on doors across the nation, educating Americans about what’s at stake. So far, we've delivered more than 100,000 public comments in support of clean water.

But if we’re going to drown out the opposition and convince President Obama and the EPA to finalize a rule and protect our waters, we can’t let the momentum falter. Right now, we need everyone who cares about America’s waterways to get involved.

Issue updates

Report | Environment America Research and Policy Center

Wasting Our Waterways 2012

Industrial facilities continue to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters each year – threatening both the environment and human health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pollution from industrial facilities is responsible for threatening or fouling water quality in more than 14,000 miles of rivers and more than 220,000 acres of lakes, ponds and estuaries nationwide.

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Report | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Agribusiness Lobby Fights Against Clean Water

The agribusiness lobby is well known as one of the most powerful in Washington, D.C., and many states. Less well known is the fact that big agribusiness interests are among the biggest roadblocks to cleaner water for the American people.

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Report | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Corporate Agribusiness and America’s Waterways

Pollution from agribusiness is responsible for some of America’s most intractable water quality problems – including the “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico and Lake Erie, and the pollution of countless streams and lakes with nutrients, bacteria, sediment and pesticides. 

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News Release | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Over 230 Million Pounds of Toxics Discharged into American Waterways

Industrial facilities dumped 232 million pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s waterways, according to a report released today by Environment America: Wasting Our Waterways: Industrial Toxic Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act. The report also finds that toxic chemicals were discharged in 1,900 waterways across all 50 states. 

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Report | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Wasting Our Waterways: Toxic Industrial Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act

Industrial facilities continue to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters each year – threatening both the environment and human health. According to the EPA, pollution from industrial facilities is responsible for threatening or fouling water quality in more than 10,000 miles of rivers and more than 200,000 acres of lakes, ponds and estuaries nationwide.

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