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Letter: Close the loopholes in Clean Water Act

Close the loopholes in Clean Water Act

To New Yorkers, Lake Erie is a treasure. It’s where we go to swim, kayak and enjoy the summer sun.

But the Great Lakes and many rivers across the state are at risk.

According to Environment New York Research and Policy Center’s new report, “Wasting Our Waterways,” New York State is ranked 15th in the nation for toxic discharges to waterways, with 5 million pounds released in 2012.

More than 40 years ago, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to protect the Hudson River and other waters across New York. Yet lawsuits brought by polluters have resulted in court decisions that now put 55 percent of New York’s streams at risk of losing this protection.

We cannot continue to allow polluters to dump millions of pounds of toxic pollution into New York’s waters. This summer, the Environmental Protection Agency is working to close the loopholes in the Clean Water Act. This could be the single largest step taken for clean water in more than a decade. But polluters are pressuring the EPA to back down.

We know waterways like Lake Erie are a big part of what makes summer in New York so great. That’s why it’s critical we move swiftly to close these loopholes and restore Clean Water Act protections, so that all New York’s waters get the protection they need and deserve.

Heather Leibowitz

Director, Environment New York