The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Katherine Baer, American Rivers, (202) 347-7550 x3053
Angela Dicianno, American Rivers, (202) 243-7077

Senate Has Opportunity to Protect Clean Water, Public Health

With summer recreation season on the horizon, American Rivers calls for passage of “sewage right-to-know” legislation


Every year, more than 860 billion gallons of raw and partially
treated sewage foul America's waters and threaten public health, but
most people have no idea that these spills occur in their local rivers
and streams. Today Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) took an important
step towards changing that when he reintroduced right-to-know
legislation. Sewage right-to-know requires public notification when a
sewer spill has the potential to affect public health.

"Summer is coming, and millions of Americans will be soon be
spending time on their local rivers and streams. But what we don't know
can hurt us," said Katherine Baer, senior director of the clean water
program for American Rivers, "Taking a swim, or going fishing or
boating, should never be a guessing game. Sewage right-to-know is about
protecting public health and shining a light on a rather odious problem
so that we can build support for lasting clean water solutions."

"We applaud Senator Lautenberg for recognizing the need to protect
clean water and public health," added Baer. "The Senate should act
swiftly to pass the bill, to ensure that summer fun isn't ruined by
sewage and sickness."

The House-passed Clean Water State Revolving Fund bill includes
sewage right-to-know in addition to green infrastructure funding.
Right-to-know legislation now heads to the United States Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee for its consideration.

American Rivers is the only national organization standing up for healthy rivers so our communities can thrive. Through national advocacy, innovative solutions and our growing network of strategic partners, we protect and promote our rivers as valuable assets that are vital to our health, safety and quality of life. Founded in 1973, American Rivers has more than 65,000 members and supporters nationwide, with offices in Washington, DC and the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, California and Northwest regions.