Press Release | April 21, 2010

Clarify Legal Protections for Streams and Wetlands

On the eve of Earth Day, the Southern Environmental Law Center welcomes today’s introduction of a bi-partisan compromise that restores long overdue protections for streams and wetlands. In recent years, too many waterways vital to the health and well-being of our communities and wildlife have been left vulnerable to destruction because of confusion in the law.

The Clean Water Act has a decades-long record of protecting water for drinking, fishing, and swimming.  While today’s bill isn’t perfect, it goes a long way towards clarifying the protections that Congress initially provided for headwater streams and wetlands when it passed the Clean Water Act in 1972.

Protecting streams and wetlands that purify our drinking water, buffer our communities from storms and floods, and filter polluted runoff is basic common sense.  Congress needs to clarify that the Clean Water Act protects our nation’s streams, wetlands, and the beneficial services they provide all Americans.

Clean water is too valuable a Southern resource not to protect—from the mountain trout streams in Appalachia to the web of rivers and wetlands that flow into our coastal marshlands and estuaries.