Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

America's Heartland Depends on Clean Water

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

America's Heartland Depends on Clean Water

Article excerpt

Protecting the heartland's streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act that was passed in 1972 helps our communities and is vital to our economy, health, safety and quality of life. During the past 43 years, the EPA, states and local partners have worked tirelessly to clean up once-polluted rivers and streams.

The Clean Water Act also protects the smaller streams and wetlands that flow into rivers like the Meramec, Dardenne, Cuivre and St. Francis in Missouri. Streams and wetlands are crucial for fishing, hunting, tourism agriculture, recreation, energy and businesses.

The heartland thrives on clean water, a resource we must conserve and protect. Agricultural interests, public health officials, recreational small businesses and all the rest of us rely on clean water for our lives and livelihoods.

While we've come a long way and dealt with the biggest issues, work remained. The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have worked together to resolve, through the new Clean Water Rule the inconsistencies that existed after two Supreme Court decisions. The new rule will help ensure clean waters are available to everyone here in the heartland. The rule more clearly protects the streams and wetlands that are scientifically shown to have the greatest impact on downstream water quality and form the foundation of the nation's water resources.

One of our most important challenges is protecting those smaller tributaries and wetlands that are part of the vast interconnected system of some of our big rivers, like the Missouri and the Mississippi. Our small waters serve an integral role in ensuring clean water for all Americans and our environment.

We also rely on these smaller wetlands to provide uptake of nutrients, to moderate flow in times of flooding, and to serve as important habitat for species that spawn or rely on bodies of water. …

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