More than 66 percent of Great Lakes wetlands have been filled in or destroyed, Ohio has lost 90 percent of her wetlands, and wetlands provide an essential ingredient in clean water and great lakes restoration. Today, Minnesota Rep. Jim Oberstar (D), Michigan Reps. John Dingell (D) and Vern Ehlers (R) introduced the bipartisan America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act (ACCWA) to restore protections to wetlands, lakes, rivers, streams and waterways that have been eroded by court cases over the past decade.
“We applaud these Great Lakes members for introducing this bill and urge the rest of the Great Lakes congressional delegation to join this effort to pass the bill quickly,” said Jeff Skelding, national campaign director for HOW.
Healthy wetlands prevent erosion, improve water quality, provide habitat for wildlife, waterfowl and fish and support our multi-billion dollar recreational sports industry in our Great Lakes states. The legislation would bring many rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands back under Clean Water Act protections. These protections have been confused and often lost completely due to two US Supreme Court decisions (Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. US Army Corps of Engineers (2001) and Rapanos v. United States (2006)) and the Bush Administration guidance following the court’s proclamations.
“This legislation ends confusion over how to protect our nation’s waters and re-affirms safeguards that Congress originally intended and that were in place before the Supreme Court muddied the waters—nothing more, nothing less,” said Skelding. “Quick passage of this bill will benefit the Great Lakes and our economy.”
This bill, if it becomes law, will go far in helping to restore the Great Lakes and our economy.