"We should be very worried about the future of our waterways," says Waterkeeper Mark Mattson in response to news that the U.S. government is trying to weaken the Clean Water Act.
Last week we wrote about the Harper government's war on the environment. The Canadian government plans to gut major environmental legislation and has been conducting hearings into the activities of green groups that have been labeled "anti-Canadian".
As we celebrate World Water Day this week, our friends to the south are trying to raise awareness of a similar battle being waged in the United States. The Clean Water Act - the cornerstone of U.S. environmental policy - is under attack.
"This year is the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act. How has the U.S. House of Representatives marked the occasion? By relentlessly trying to undermine the environmental protection programs across the country," says Marc Yaggi executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance.
Yaggi notes that House recently passed a bill that would exempt people using pesticides from complying with clean water rules. "They are taking direct aim our right to clean water for swimming, drinking, and fishing."
The parallels to the struggle here in Canada are stark. Lobbyists and industrial interests are pressuring the U.S. government to weaken the Clean Water Act, equating environmental protection with economic disaster.
"Water is not constrained by political boundaries. What happens in the USA affects Canadians, and vice versa," says Waterkeeper Mark Mattson. "We should all be very worried about the future of our water."
The bill is now pending in the U.S. Senate. Waterkeeper Alliance is encouraging people to sign an online petition to stop it.
World Water Day is an international day to celebrate freshwater. The first World Water Day was held in 1993.