Apr 28, 2011

Obama Administration Affirms Commitment to Clean Water

Clean water framework outlines administration's actions to improve nation's waters

Recognizing the importance of clean water and healthy watersheds to our economy, environment and communities, the Obama administration released a national clean water framework yesterday that showcases its commitment to protecting the health of America’s waters. The framework emphasizes the importance of partnerships and coordination with states, local communities, stakeholders and the public to protect public health and water quality, and promote the nation’s energy and economic security.

For nearly 40 years, the Clean Water Act, along with other federal measures, has been a cornerstone of the administration’s effort to ensure that Americans have clean and healthy waters. The administration’s framework outlines a series of actions underway and planned across federal agencies to ensure the integrity of the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming and fishing, and that support farming, recreation, tourism and economic growth. It includes draft federal guidance to clarify which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act nationwide; innovative partnerships and programs to improve water quality and water efficiency; and initiatives to revitalize communities and economies by restoring rivers and critical watersheds.

The Obama administration plans to safeguard clean water by:

Promoting innovative partnerships: Federal agencies are partnering with states, tribes, local governments and diverse stakeholders on innovative approaches to restore urban waters, promote sustainable water supplies and develop new incentives for farmers to protect clean water;

Enhancing communities and economies by restoring important water bodies: The Obama administration is dedicating unprecedented attention to restoring iconic places like the Chesapeake Bay, California Bay-Delta, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and Everglades, investing in action and helping states, local governments and stakeholders find pollution control solutions that are tailored to their specific needs;

Innovating for more water efficient communities: The administration is working with policymakers, consumers, farmers and businesses to save water and money through modern water management policies and technology;

Ensuring clean water to protect public health: The Obama administration is aggressively pursuing new ways to protect public health by reducing contaminants in Americans’ drinking water. It is updating drinking water standards, protecting drinking water sources, modernizing the tools available to communities to meet clean water requirements and providing affordable clean water services in rural communities;

Enhancing use and enjoyment of the nation’s waters: The administration is promoting stewardship of America’s waters through innovative programs and partnerships. These efforts include expanding access to waterways for recreation, protecting rural landscapes and promoting public access to private lands for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities;

Updating the nation’s water policies: The administration is strengthening protection of America’s waters and American communities. It is modernizing water resources guidelines and updating federal guidance on where the Clean Water Act applies nationwide. The draft guidance will protect waters that many communities depend on for drinking, swimming and fishing, and provide clearer, more predictable guidelines for determining which water bodies are protected from pollution under the Clean Water Act. The guidance is open for 60 days of public comment to allow all stakeholders to provide input and feedback before it is finalized; and

Supporting science to solve water problems: The administration is using the latest science and research to improve water policies and programs and identify and address emerging pollution challenges.