Today, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI15) celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act on the banks of the Huron River. Dingell was joined by conservationists and sportsmen dedicated to protecting our waters for recreation and economic opportunities. As key architect of the Clean Water Act, Dingell knows how important the Clean Water Act has been to cleaning up the nation's water including the Great Lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands. These areas are now more accessible to hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts while making drinking water safer.
"Today we mark the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act," said Dingell. "Our home state of Michigan is blessed with a vast and marvelous natural resource -- the Great Lakes -- and I am proud to have played an integral role in passing this landmark legislation. As a steadfast conservationist and outdoorsman, I firmly believe that we owe it to future generations to restore and protect national treasures like the Great Lakes and the waterways we use for recreation. As my dear Dad taught me, we borrow the resources of today from the citizens of tomorrow."
In passing the Clean Water Act, Dingell worked to establish a broader definition of "navigable waters" so that more could be done to protect bodies of water such as wetlands, streams, prairie potholes and other areas. This common sense legislation was passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis and it could be said that this law was so important that it was, in fact, nonpartisan. Sadly the Supreme Court, through various decisions, has muddied the waters in a way that has once again put our waters at severe risk. Dingell continues to believe we need broad protections for waters to prevent erosion of decades of efforts to clean up waters across America including the Great Lakes.
"The legacy of this landmark legislation is a Huron River that is experiencing its renaissance as the new main street of our river towns," said Elizabeth Riggs, manager of the RiverUp! partnership. "Through the RiverUp! partnership, we are turning our river towns into a premier destination in Michigan and the Great Lakes. This river-based economy is only possible with a river that is fishable, drinkable, and swimmable -- in short, a river worth celebrating"
"The cleanup of the Great Lakes is one of the world's great environmental success stories, and passage of the Clean Water Act was a key catalyst," said Lana Pollack, U.S. Section Chair of the International Joint Commission. "Today, as we face new challenges to Great Lakes water quality due to pollution runoff from land, invasive species, climate change and emerging contaminants, we can learn from that experience. Effective laws, strong bi-national cooperation, and adequately funded clean water programs make a big difference for the Great Lakes."
"Ducks Unlimited is pleased to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Without this landmark piece of legislation championed by Congressman Dingell, our efforts to protect and restore wetlands would have been greatly stifled," said Terry Laymon, State Chairman of Michigan Ducks Unlimited. "We know our natural resources and citizens have greatly benefitted from the Clean Water Act, even though we have continued challenges today to ensure our waters remain swimmable, drinkable and fishable -- and suitable for waterfowl."