Front Porch Blog

Happy 40th Birthday, Clean Water Act!

At Appalachian Voices, we strive to connect communities, families and individuals to their decision-makers to help them protect their land, air and water. We see ourselves in service to those people to help them achieve their goals of providing a good quality for themselves and others.

The Clean Water Act, which is 40 years old today, is very similar. The landmark legislation fundamentally changed the nation’s relationship to its waterways. Going into the 1970s, our waterways were in terrible shape. Only one-third of our waterways were fit for swimming and fishing. Chemicals were allowed to spew into our rivers and streams. Time magazine had written Lake Erie’s obituary. The Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio was so choked with pollution that it had burst into flames several times over a decade.

Citizens from across the country, realizing that we needed to do something, and do something quickly, took to the streets and demanded change. A slew of new environmental protections came into being, including the Clean Water Act in 1972.

This laws does many things, but one of the most inspiring is that it allows communities to come together to protect their local waterways by with resources such as technical and financial assistance. It also allows people to address grievances when they see others polluting their waterways.

Some industries do not appreciate being told they can’t pollute, and are looking to weaken the Clean Water Act, leveraging their influence on Congress to do just that.

We won’t stand for that. For our part, Appalachian Voices has released, “The Clean Water Act at 40,” a new report that focuses on the Clean Water Act and how it has helped real people to achieve real success, despite the continuing threats to clean water from Congress. Read “The Clean Water Act at 40” today!

So let’s celebrate the Clean Water Act, not only because its an awesome law that has allowed everyday Americans to have the power to protect their water, but because we need to send a clear message to those who would seek the do away with the Clean Water Act: Hands off!

But that doesn’t mean we can’t raise a toast of clean water, and eat some birthday cake too! Join our virtual birthday party today!

With Colombian roots, a Philadelphia, Pa.-childhood, and more than a decade in Florida before joining Appalachian Voices, Sandra served as AV's North Carolina campaign coordinator and driving force behind the Red, White & Water campaign from 2007 to 2013.


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