EARTHWORKS

Yellowstone Oil Spill Underscores the Need for Better Protection for Western Waters

Bonnie Gestring's avatar
By Bonnie Gestring

July 6, 2011

This week s Exxon pipeline leak of 42,000 gallons of oil into Montana s famed Yellowstone River demonstrates just how quickly inadequate regulations translate into real harm to western waters, and the communities and businesses that rely on them. 

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently taking public comments on new guidelines that will determine which western waterways are considered waters of the U.S. and therefore protected under the Clean Water Act.

Some recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have muddied the water, and these guidance documents will go a long way towards clarifying this important issue.

The EPA estimates that more than 117 million Americans get their drinking water from public supplies fed in whole or in part by intermittent or ephemeral streams vulnerable to pollution thanks to current confusion.

On behalf of the Yellowstone, and all our great rivers, streams and wetlands, I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to link here, and let the EPA know that ALL our waters deserve protection under the Clean Water Act.

Tagged with: waters of the u.s., pipeline leak, oil spill, exxon, epa, clean water act

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