Signs of Life :: Act Two for Clean Water


Volunteers remove litter along the Los Angeles River during La Gran Limpieza, a cleanup day held May 9 by Friends of the Los Angeles River. Participants hauled out a total of 37,000 pounds of trash from more than a dozen sites. A Supreme Court ruling removed the river from protection under the Clean Water Act. A bill being considered in the Senate would restore that protection.

Photo by Peter Bennett


Act Two for Clean Water

The U.S. Senate may be poised to undo a Bush-era policy that undercut protection of the nation’s waterways.

Until 2002, the U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers had the authority to keep pollution out of creeks and stop builders from paving over small wetlands.

But two rulings on the Clean Water Act by the U.S. Supreme Court took a narrow reading of the law’s language, limiting the Act’s jurisdiction to “navigable waterways” and the small streams and rivers that are connected to them.

The rulings stripped protection from 20 million acres of wetlands and 60 percent of the nation’s stream miles, such as the Los Angeles River and nearly all of Arizona’s small streams.

Now 24 senators have sponsored a bill that would restore those protections. The Clean Water Restoration Act has passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and is headed for the Senate floor. The act has the support of a large number of environmental, wildlife, and fishing and hunting groups, along with the Water Environment Federation, which represents the water treatment industry, though the law is meeting resistance from big agriculture and developers.

—Madeline Ostrander


Bundanoon, Australia, May be First to Legally Ban Bottled Water

Thumb Up IconIn a July 4 vote, Bundanoon, Australia, may have become the first community in the world to legally ban bottled water. The ban was promoted through the grassroots “Bundy On Tap” campaign. The town plans to implement the law by September, once it sets up bottled water alternatives, such as several new free filtered “water stations” to be placed around the community.


:: Amazon Tribes Win Against Big Oil
Also ...
India's “National Solar Mission”

:: Sit-In Keeps Factory Open
Also ...
Green Economy Is Outperforming the Rest of the Global Economy

:: Legal Settlements Protect Voters


:: Cities Eat Local

:: Tribes Approve Same-Sex Marriage

:: Act Two for Clean Water
Also ...
Bundanoon, Australia, May be First to Legally Ban Bottled Water