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Celebrating the success of the Clean Water Act

Washington, DC – In advance of the 45th anniversary of the Clean Water Act on Wednesday, October 18, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement in support of clean water.

“Every community in America needs clean, safe water every day for every resident. For 45 years, the Clean Water Act has protected our drinking water, our wetlands that filters pollutants, our communities from floods, and provided habitat for wildlife in Maryland and throughout the nation. The Clean Water Act has been an unequivocal success.

“Prior to the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the United States was in a state of crisis similar to what the world’s developing countries face today. The Chesapeake Bay was deemed to have one of the world’s first marine dead zones, high levels of PCBs were being discovered in the San Francisco Bay, and unfettered industrial pollution had rendered a majority of waters across the U.S. and unsafe for fishing and swimming. The immense scope of the tragedies in our nation’s waters was too great for Congress to ignore.

“In 1972, Congress took decisive action to address this growing threat, and that response brought about the Clean Water Act.

“Why was the Clean Water Act so essential? Clean water upstream means clean water downstream. Streams and wetlands filter pollution, reduce flooding, and give fish and wildlife a place to live—and provide our nation’s great hunting and fishing areas. Farmers depend on clean water for irrigation, crops and livestock. Tourism, hunting and fishing, manufacturing, the construction industry, the food and beverage industry, the healthcare industry, the oil and gas and nuclear industries, the textiles industry, and the logging industry—all are highly dependent on clean water. The Clean Water Act also provides for critical habitat for endangered species: one third of all endangered species live only in wetlands.


“The Clean Water Act provides a framework for the state and federal partnership to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Our investment in the watershed region is paying off—Maryland’s portion of the Bay was dead-zone free in early July.

“We need more protection for our water not less. President Trump’s recent repeal of the Clean Water Rule puts that in serious jeopardy. The move is blatantly partisan and can best be described as a shortsighted and dangerous gift to polluters. Despite President Trump’s attacks, I will continue to fight for America’s right to clean water.”

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