Clean Water for the Hudson

November 4, 2014 Updated: July 9, 2020

Dear Editor:

Re: David Lillard’s article “Supreme Court Denies Water Flows Downhill, EPA Proves Otherwise” published on Oct. 29.

On the 42nd anniversary of the Clean Water Act, a new report from Environment New York, Waterways Restored, highlights the success the law has meant for the Hudson River, taking it from a polluter’s stew to a waterway that is now home again to fish, wildlife, and recreational use.

Portions of the iconic Hudson River once changed color depending on the color of cars being made that day at an auto plant—just one of many sources of industrial pollution of the Hudson. The Clean Water Act empowered local citizens to monitor and take action against industrial polluters lining the Hudson, helping lead to the return of fish and wildlife to the river.

All of New York’s waters deserve a success story, but right now, a loophole in the Clean Water Act has left more than 55 percent of New York’s streams, including those that feed into the Hudson River, vulnerable to pollution.

Thankfully, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed closing this loophole to protect all of the state’s rivers and streams. The agency is taking public comments on its rule until Nov. 14, but polluters like big oil companies, agribusinesses, and developers are waging a bitter campaign against it. However, despite this opposition, nearly 740,000 public comments were delivered to EPA officials in Washington, D.C., last week in support of the rule to restore protections to all of our waterways, including more than 35,000 from New Yorkers themselves.

The Clean Water Act has meant progress for the Hudson River, but its promise isn’t yet fulfilled. That’s why it’s so important for EPA to stand up to the polluters and restore safeguards to all of the rivers and streams that crisscross our state.

Sarah Vitti
Environment New York

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.