Can We Afford to Defund Clean Water?
What would it be like to turn on the tap and not be sure the water was safe to drink? That scenario may become a reality in the not-too-distant future if Washington continues to under- and defund the vital clean water provisions established by the Clean Water Act of 1972 and the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996.
In the latest continuing resolution budget deal between Congress and President Obama, clean water protections were a big loser. A whopping $997 million was slashed from the EPA’s programs for clean and safe drinking water. This comes at a time when the agency’s Safe Water Revolving Fund is urging uprgrades and improvements in the declining systems which provide Americans clean water:
“The Nation’s water systems must make significant investments to install, upgrade, or replace infrastructure to continue to ensure the provision of safe drinking water to their 240 million customers. Installation of new treatment facilities can improve the quality of drinking water and better protect public health. Improvements are also needed to help those water systems experiencing a threat of contamination due to aging infrastructure systems.”
The United State’s growing population and increasing indsutrial waste production–coupled with an aging and crumbling infrastructure–is causing alarm for conservationists and environmentalists. Experts share deepening concern over our ability to maintain a clean water supply. Recent studies on newly-detected contaminants, such as prescription and over-the-counter drugs, along with the budget cuts, only increase that concern.
From the ENS Newswire:
“The latest agreement between Congressional leaders and President Obama decimates water protections,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the nonprofit Food and Water Watch. “The ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to help municipalities deliver clean water to U.S. citizens has been seriously threatened with cuts to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, the mechanism by which the federal government dispenses funds for the upkeep of our tap water and sewerage systems.”
The next question is what we do to try and recover what has been lost. Any suggestions?
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