Alabama Rivers Alliance, Alliance for the Great Lakes, American Rivers, American Sustainable Business Council, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Children’s Environmental Health Network, Clean Water Action, Earthjustice, Environment America, Environmental Law & Policy Center, GreenLatinos, Harpeth Conservancy, Healthy Gulf, League of Conservation Voters, Mississippi River Collaborative, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, OVEC-Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, PennFuture, Pennsylvania Council of Churches, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, River Network, Rural Coalition, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance
With the inauguration of President Joe Biden, leading environmental groups are celebrating the end of the Trump administration’s assault on the Clean Water Act and the beginning of a new era of clean water safeguards. Some of the Trump administration’s most short-sighted attacks on public health and environmental laws rolled back critical clean water protections that enjoy overwhelming bipartisan support, hold polluters accountable, and protect our country’s precious waterways.
26 members and partners of the Clean Water for All Coalition, including leading environmental and community organizations focused on clean water, offer the following statement to recognize President Biden’s mandate to protect clean water:
“The Biden administration comes into office amid a series of historic challenges: a worsening COVID-19 pandemic, an ongoing economic collapse, the climate crisis, systemic racial injustice, and a shaken democracy. We stand with President Biden and his commitment to taking comprehensive action to combat these interwoven crises. We also know that taking bold action to protect clean water can and must play a major role in the solutions to these crises.
“Via executive action, COVID-19 stimulus, appropriations, and other legislative priorities, the Biden administration has ample tools to make investments in clean water infrastructure, repeal pro-polluter rules, and ensure every community has access to clean water. Beginning on Day One, with a clean water leader in the White House, water can be the backbone of the fight to Build Back Better.”
The Clean Water for All Coalition is a broad coalition of over 50 organizations working to elevate the importance of clean water for everyone through strategic national and regional campaigns that engage people, build our collective political power, and influence decision-makers to create equitable policies.
“Alabama has some of the most abundant and biodiverse waters in the entire nation yet poverty, injustice and climate change are leaving our communities at risk when it comes to access to clean water and adequate water infrastructure. We stand ready to work with you to protect and fund vital water needs.” — Cindy Lowry, Executive Director, Alabama Rivers Alliance
“President Biden and Vice President Harris, in partnership with the Great Lakes region, have the opportunity to place safe and clean water at the center of our communities and make them healthier and more equitable than before. We urge their Administration to work closely with Congress and Great Lakes leaders to prioritize environmental justice, invest in fixing our failing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and ensure that basic federal clean water protections are vigorously supported and enforced. These investments in clean water support getting people back to work, protect public health, and ready our communities for a changing climate — a win for everyone.” — Joel Brammeier, President & CEO, Alliance for the Great Lakes
“At a time when millions of people in our country lack safe, clean, affordable water, COVID-19 is devastating public health and the economy, and climate change is impacting communities with flooding and drought, investment in healthy rivers must be a top national priority. By uniting around healthy rivers, we can improve public health and safety, create jobs, and improve lives in communities nationwide.” — Bob Irvin, President, American Rivers
“All businesses rely on clean water to some extent and for many, it is essential. Many local economies rely directly on clean waterways, and pollution of rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal areas can directly impact businesses bottom lines. Further, there is large potential for job growth in sectors, such as infrastructure, ecosystem restoration, and technology development, that are vital for achieving clean water goals. The business community stands ready to work with the Biden administration to ensure there are strong protections and investments in our nation’s clean water resource.” — David Levine, President, American Sustainable Business Council
“All children require access to clean and safe water to grow and thrive. We call on the Biden Administration to provide needed leadership for current and future generations to come.” — Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Executive Director, Children’s Environmental Health Network
“We are eager to get to work to protect our water and health, strengthen our democracy, and fight for justice. There is no time to waste — voters made themselves heard in record numbers in November and demanded change. The Biden administration has proposed detailed plans to address a range of issues and has made lofty promises. We look forward to working with the Administration to make sure those plans are deployed and promises fulfilled. We’ll do everything we can to make sure that safeguarding our water, taking bold action on climate, and protecting our democracy are front and center of the agenda throughout the next four years.” — Bob Wendelgass, President and CEO, Clean Water Action
“Our country is enveloped by a series of human rights crises related to water, exacerbated by climate change. The Biden Administration has a historic opportunity to work with environmental justice leaders to pursue ambitious and just policies related to lack of access to clean and affordable drinking water, polluted waterways, and unsanitary and dangerous wastewater disposal. Earthjustice, in partnership with communities across the nation, stands ready to end the cumulative impacts communities of color face from toxic chemicals, address the need for rigorous monitoring of pollution, and fight for robust enforcement of stronger standards that truly protect public health.” — Julian Gonzalez, Legislative Counsel, Earthjustice
“As our nation nears the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, President Biden has an incredible opportunity to bring our nation together to reduce the pollution plaguing our water – from sewage overflows to toxic algae, and from PFAS to lead. With strong federal protections and bold investments in water infrastructure, President Biden can help ensure that our mighty rivers, majestic lakes, and drinking water are safe and clean.” — John Rumpler, Senior Director, Clean Water for America Campaign and Senior Attorney, Environment America
“Access to clean water is foundational to public health, the economy, and outdoor recreation. The COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis continue to show us that President Biden must take action to protect our fundamental human right to water. The Biden administration must also recognize the disparities environmental racism has perpetuated in the Latinx community and other communities of color, contributing to unequal access, inequitable systems, and the blatant disregard of our people. We stand with the Biden administration and his plan to protect our precious water with our communities at the forefront.” — Mark Magaña, Founding President & CEO, GreenLatinos
“Here in the Great Lakes region, the value of safe clean water is in our community DNA. We look forward to moving forward with President Biden to advance bold and effective actions protecting safe clean drinking water for all, better public health, and vital fish and wildlife habitats. Following four years of Trump’s “War on the Great Lakes,” we look forward to working together with President Biden who understands the importance of the Great Lakes supplying drinking water to 40 million people and supporting the multi-billion-dollar fishing, outdoor recreation and tourism economy.” — Howard Learner, Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center
“LCV is beyond excited for the early actions we expect from the Biden-Harris Administration to advance equity and justice in our environmental and public health protections. The COVID-19 crisis has magnified and exacerbated the many challenges that were already facing our water systems and the inequities that block access to clean, safe water, especially for low income communities and communities of color. We are ready to work alongside President Biden and Vice President Harris as we fight for the health and safety of every community and clean water for all.” — Madeleine Foote, Deputy Legislative Director, League of Conservation Voters
“After four years of EPA threading water, hopefully EPA under President Biden can now make real progress to control nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that is causing dead zones, harmful algal blooms and threats to drinking water supplies across the country.” — Albert Ettinger, Mississippi River Collaborative
“We are hopeful the new Administration will chart a new, common-sense path using science and public input to restore protections to the nation’s waters and wetlands. We encourage Congress and the Administration to seize this moment to upgrade our aging water infrastructure and harness the power of nature to protect communities and wildlife alike.” — Jessie Ritter, Director, Water Resources and Coastal Policy, National Wildlife Federation
“While the Trump administration has moved to gut protections for streams and wetlands at the behest of their polluter pals, the American people have stood up and demanded clean water. We look forward to working with the Biden administration to restore federal protections for our waterways and to hold polluters accountable, as the American people deserve.” — Jon Devine, Director of Federal Water Policy at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).
“We hope the Biden administration will restore CWA regulations based on scientific principles so all waters within the U.S. are conserved for both people and wildlife.” — George R Cunningham, Board President, Nebraska Wildlife Federation
“PennFuture recognizes the monumental task in front of Joe Biden at the onset of his presidency, as our nation faces dueling crises of battling systemic racism and white supremacy as well as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” said PennFuture Vice President of Legal and Policy Abigail M. Jones. “Despite that, we implore the president to act immediately to undo the worst of the prior administration’s rollbacks and attacks on clean water and our environment. Specifically, we call on President Biden to repeal the Dirty Water Rule, which is the most severe weakening of clean water protections attempted by any president since the Clean Water Act was first passed in 1972.” — Abigail M. Jones, Vice President, Legal and Policy, PennFuture
“We have high hopes that progress will be made – starting on day one – to ensure everyone has access to safe and affordable drinking water, healthy rivers, thriving communities, and sustainable economic opportunity.” — Nicole Silk, President, River Network
“Everyone deserves access to clean water. There is a tremendous opportunity now not only to reverse the clean water rollbacks of the last four years, but to put clean water infrastructure in place and to safeguard wetlands, streams and other drinking water sources to secure this basic human right for all communities.” — Dalal Aboulhosn, Acting Deputy Director of Policy, Advocacy and Legal, Sierra Club
“After four years of defending against a sustained assault on environmental protections and safeguards that keep our waterways healthy, today marks a new beginning — one that must be defined by action. Within the first 100 days of the new administration, it’s critical that President Biden prioritize the restoration of the Clean Water Act to its full regulatory force and repair the broken definition of ‘Waters of the United States,’ which serves as the backbone of this landmark legislation. There’s no time to waste.” — Marc Yaggi, Executive Director, Waterkeeper Alliance