Today President Obama vetoed a bill that would have killed our best chance in decades to clean up our nation’s waters. As pro-life Christians, we stand firmly behind the President’s efforts to make our water sources cleaner.
All of life requires water, clean pure water. It's something we take for granted, but shouldn't. Dirty water, contaminated water, remains a constant threat we must work to ensure doesn't harm our children and loved ones, as the terrible situation in Flint, Michigan, reminds us.
Is our water safe? Increasingly, the answer is no.
For Christians called by Jesus to love others and protect the vulnerable, and for others of good will, this situation is unacceptable and presents an opportunity to make a difference. We must work for a righteous water supply.
An important part of the reason our water isn’t safe for many is the inability of our government to adequately enforce the Clean Water Act. In effect, in many cases our clean water cops are no longer on the beat, with nearly half of major polluters effectively beyond their reach. Because of this hindering of enforcement, right now the drinking water sources of 1 in 3 Americans are threatened and increasingly undefended, and enforcement actions have dropped by almost half.
Passed in 1972 and strengthened during the Reagan years, the Clean Water Act put America on the right track in defending our waters for supplying drinking water systems, agriculture, industry, and recreation. However, a number of court decisions and Congressional inaction have "muddied the waters" by thwarting our ability to protect what are known as “headwaters,” or the beginnings of our streams and rivers, as well as many wetlands. What was once easily defined during the Reagan Administration now is a total mess of confusion, inaction, and failure.
We are thankful that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have worked together to put in place a new rule, revised in light of public comments, that clarifies the protection needed to ensure pure water, defend our children's health, and codify exemptions that have long applied to farmers.
We need this new regulation so we can once again attain the level of water purity achieved during the Reagan years, and then to build upon this success for even greater water purity and a righteous water supply.
Unfortunately, it is this regulation that Congress is trying to kill, and their misguided efforts are the reason for President Obama’s veto.
Water is about life. To protect life we must have pure water. An essential step towards pure water and our children’s health is the implementation of a strong Army Corps-EPA’s regulation. It is for the sake of our kids that we support President Obama’s veto.