Sunday, May 17, 2009

Clean Water Alert

Contact your US Senators to encourage support for The Clean Water Restoration Act. Take your cue from the message I received from Paul Sanford of the American Canoe Association....he describes efforts of the Outdoor Coalition to undo damage done by the Bush Administration and the Supremes (no...not Diana Ross). This takes a recreational-based self interest approach...there are many other public health and ecological health issues at stake.

The ACA is partnering with American Whitewater to urge Congress to pass S. 787, the Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA). Passage of this legislation is critically important to protecting the waters that paddlers enjoy. CWRA would undo the damage done by recent Supreme Court decisions narrowly intepreting the scope of the Clean Water Act. These decisions put many intermittent headwater streams and wetlands outside the protection of the Act. In doing so, they threaten to open up important paddling destinations to unregulated discharges, and also put downstream water quality in jeopardy, which will make paddling a less enjoyable, and more dangerous, experience.

The Clean Water Restoration Act would reaffirm the original intent of Congress that the Clean Water Act provides robust protection to the waters of our nation, and strong safeguards for all Americans. At the same time, it preserves important exemptions that were part of the original Act. See the attached Fact Sheet for more info about CWRA.

The first step in passing CWRA is getting it approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The Committee may consider the legislation during the week of May 18, so we need to act fast.

One of your state’s Senators, Senator Arlen Specter, is on this Committee, and his vote will be critical to getting committee approval for the bill. Our sources believe there’s a good chance he will support CWRA if he hears from paddlers and paddling organizations in his home state. Please help us with this effort! ACA and and AW are charter members of the Outdoor Alliance (OA), a coalition of six human-powered recreation organizations. All six member organizations in OA -- even the land-based groups -- support CWRA because they know passage of this bill will be good for recreation of all kinds. We are using the resources of the Alliance to help our members communicate with their elected officials in Washington.

The link below will take you to the CWRA page on the OA website. Follow this link to learn more about CWRA, then click on the Take Action button at the bottom of the page to send a message to Senator Specter urging him to support this bill. Nobody knows the importance of clean water better than paddlers. Make sure Senator Specter knows that paddlers in Pennsylvania support the Clean Water Restoration Act.