Who can protect North Carolina’s water?
North Carolinians depend on clean water for drinking, recreation, farming and the preservation of healthy ecosystems for fish and wildlife. The severe drought of 2007 to 2008 reminded us of the importance of clean water—particularly at times when there is too little to go around.
North Carolina needs representatives who understand the importance of clean water to the state’s economy and our environment and will take on the polluters. Unfortunately, Rep. Robin Hayes has stood with George Bush and the polluters as they have worked to dismantle America’s protections for clean water.
The Bush administration’s assault on clean water
Since passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, America has made great progress toward cleaning up our nation’s waters. However, our rivers, lakes and streams are still in dire need of protection from industrial pollution, contaminated runoff, sewage overflows and a host of other threats.
Even today, 47 percent of America’s assessed rivers and streams and 59 percent of our assessed lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming or other uses. Polluters dumped more than 244 million pounds of toxic chemicals into American waterways in 2006. And more than 850 billion gallons of raw or inadequately treated sewage are discharged into waterways each year.
But under George Bush, America has taken a large step backward in the protection of our precious water supplies. Time and again, the Bush administration has pushed to roll back critical protections for clean water. President Bush:
- Moved to eliminate Clean Water Act protections for 56 percent of North Carolina’s streams—waterways that are critical for a variety of wildlife and feed the drinking water supplies of more than 4.3 million people.
- Curtailed enforcement of the Clean Water Act. For example, major North Carolina facilities exceeded their permitted amounts of water pollution more than 550 times in 2005.
- Curbed the public’s right to know about toxic pollution of waterways by allowing polluters to conceal more information about their toxic discharges.
- Put the interests of Big Oil ahead of the public by exempting the construction of oil and gas drilling sites from the Clean Water Act.
Time and again, Rep. Hayes has stood with George Bush and the polluters to weaken protections for America’s waterways. Rep. Hayes:
- Voted with George Bush to deny Clean Water Act protections to many streams and wetlands at a time when 51 percent of North Carolina’s assessed rivers and streams and 55 percent of North Carolina’s assessed lakes are already too polluted for fishing, swimming or other uses.
- Voted to exempt the construction of oil and gas drilling sites from the Clean Water Act.
- Voted to give Big Oil a free pass to avoid liability for contamination from the toxic gasoline additive MTBE, which has fouled drinking water supplies serving 22 million to 46 million people nationwide.
Americans deserve clean water and a healthy environment. To get there, we need to take a few common-sense steps:
- Restore Clean Water Act protections to all U.S. waterways, including source water streams and wetlands.
- Enforce the Clean Water Act to make sure polluters are following the law, reduce discharges of toxic chemicals, sewage and other pollution into waterways, and make polluters pay to clean up the damage they have caused.
- Invest in repairing outdated sewer systems and measures to reduce runoff pollution.
Defend and expand the public’s right to know to know about the release of toxic pollution into our rivers, lakes and streams.
North Carolinians have a choice this November. To protect the health of North Carolina’s waterways and our environment, North Carolinians in the 8th congressional district should elect Larry Kissell to the U.S. Congress.
To get more info on Hayes' Environmental record click here:
Election 2008: Candidates and Issues