October 18, 2022

DeFazio, Napolitano, Dingell, Beyer, and 85 Colleagues Commemorate the Clean Water Act On Its 50th Anniversary

Washington, DC - Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Representative Don Beyer (D-VA), and 85 House Members jointly announced a resolution honoring the Clean Water Act (CWA) on its 50th anniversary of protecting American waterways.
“In all my years of public service I have never once had a constituent tell me their water was too clean,” Chair DeFazio said. “The Clean Water Act is a public policy success story that has made our streams, rivers, wetlands, and lakes more fishable, swimmable, and suitable for recreation. While this bedrock environmental law remains under constant attack by polluters who view the protection of our nation’s most precious natural resource as too costly or burdensome, I stand with American families in the fervent hope that, over the next 50 years, we will finally reach our goal of fishable and swimmable waters for everyone – regardless of your zip code.”
“The Clean Water Act is the foundation of protecting our way of life,” Chair Napolitano said. “It protects the water sources used for our households, it stimulates our economy by providing for clean water that is needed for businesses and agriculture, it allows us to recreate on our nation’s rivers, streams, lakes, and seas, and it protects our environment. We introduce this resolution to celebrate its accomplishments and we commit to improving clean water protections in the future."
“When it passed the 1972 Amendments we know as the Clean Water Act, Congress established an important benchmark to protect our waters from pollution,” Representative Don Beyer said. “50 years later, we recognize the Clean Water Act as one of the most consequential pieces of environmental legislation in American history and celebrate its success in improving the quality of the waterways millions of Americans depend on for drinking water, fishing, and recreational activities. But we equally recognize how much more must be done to meet the original goals of the 1972 legislation to reach zero discharge of pollutants into navigable waters, and to ensure water quality that provides places that are fishable and swimmable.”
“Access to clean drinking water is fundamental human right. It’s unimaginable in this day and age that people would oppose cleaning up our waterways, but when John Dingell—one of the architects of the Clean Water Act—and his colleagues proposed this legislation, that’s exactly what happened,” Representative Dingell said. “Today we understand its importance: Over the last 50 years the Clean Water Act has proven to be a landmark law that has helped us enshrine that right by bringing important water sources back to life, ridding pollutants and dangerous toxins from our rivers, lakes, and streams, protecting our waterways from future contamination, and holding polluters accountable. We have worked hard to defend the Clean Water Act from those who have sought to dismantle it, and now we must strengthen this historic law and build on its crucial protections to keep our water clean, safe, and affordable for generations to come.”  
This resolution comes on the heels of a T&I hearing on the same subject, “The Clean Water Act at Fifty: Highlights and Lessons Learned from a Half Century of Transformative Legislation.” This hearing provided members the opportunity to examine the CWA on its 50th anniversary, as well as learn how the United States is progressing towards the CWA’s original intent and goals.
You can find the full text of the Resolution HERE.