With Congress considering drastic cuts to national clean water protections, and rivers nationwide facing threats from natural gas drilling, pollution, and new dams, American Rivers today released its annual list of America‚Äôs Most Endangered Rivers¬ģ.
American Rivers named the Potomac River, known as ‚Äėthe nation‚Äôs river‚Äô as it flows through the capital, the most endangered in the country. While the Potomac is cleaner than it used to be, the river is still threatened by urban and agricultural pollution‚Äď and it could get much worse if Congress rolls back critical clean water safeguards.
As the country commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act this year, the Potomac is emblematic of what‚Äôs at stake for rivers nationwide. American Rivers launched a national call to action, giving citizens the opportunity to contact members of Congress and speak up for clean water.
‚ÄúThis year‚Äôs Most Endangered Rivers list underscores how important clean water is to our drinking water, health, and economy,‚ÄĚ said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers. ‚ÄúIf Congress slashes clean water protections, more Americans will get sick and communities and businesses will suffer. We simply cannot afford to go back to a time when the Potomac and rivers nationwide were too polluted and dangerous to use.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe Clean Water Act is the reason the Potomac River is no longer called a ‚Äúnational disgrace.‚ÄĚ Most of the palpable problems are gone; however, there are many emerging threats that can’t be seen. Residents of the Washington D.C. metro area‚Äď including the President and Congress‚Äď need to realize they are composed mostly of Potomac river water and they need to protect and enforce the laws that safeguard their health,‚ÄĚ said Ed Merrifield, President of Potomac Riverkeeper. ‚ÄúWe need strong federal leadership as we redouble our efforts at the local level to achieve the goal of a healthy, clean Potomac,‚ÄĚ said Hedrick Belin, President of the Potomac Conservancy. ‚ÄúWe look forward to partnering with American Rivers, Potomac Riverkeeper, and others to continue to make progress cleaning up the Nation‚Äôs River. This regional treasure contributes so much to our community‚Äôs quality of life, and our neighborhoods deserve healthy, clean streams and creeks.‚ÄĚ
Dredging Today Staff, May 15, 2012;