Clean Water Act 2.0: Rights of Waterways — Linda Sheehan


From the Huffington Post (Linda Sheehan):

Over the last 40 years [ed. since the Clean Water Act was passed], progress has undeniably been made — but it has also undeniably stalled. Over half of monitored rivers and streams nationwide, and almost 70 percent of lakes, reservoirs and ponds, still cannot meet one or more established beneficial uses such as swimming, fishing or habitat. Water flows are also increasingly compromised, with fish and even whales disappearing as water diversions increase. Climate change also is threatening waterways; in the recent opening days of the 67th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for urgent action on climate change to ensure water and food security world-wide…

The 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act calls for reflection on next steps. While the Act’s vision was laudable, it has in effect legalized pollution and extraction, with slowed but ongoing degradation. Our other environmental laws similarly have fallen short in protecting people and planet, their limitations evident from growing, global problems such as spreading species extinctions and accelerating climate change impacts.

One of the key reasons our environmental laws are falling short is that they accept without question the overarching assumption that the natural world can and should be manipulated and degraded for short-term financial profit [ed. emphasis mine]. Our laws fail to reflect the fact that we are inextricably intertwined with the natural world, and that what we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves. We must modernize our laws to correct this fundamental misunderstanding and guide us on a better path.

Thanks to @downstream2012 for the link.

More water pollution coverage here and here.

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