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Browner Releases Data on U.S. Water Quality, Calls for New Clean Water Act

[EPA press release - April 20, 1994]

Standing by a silt-choked marina on the Anacostia River in Maryland - where bushes grow between the docks because of silt buildup from urban runoff - Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner today marked Earth Day by calling the river "a symbol of two things: that America's waters are in trouble, and that we have the power to solve the problem."

"The solution is the Clinton Administration's proposals for a new Clean Water Act and a new Safe Drinking Water Act," Browner added. "Today, we're calling on Congress to change both of those laws so that we can prevent pollution and protect this precious resource, on which all life depends."

Citing local efforts to revitalize the marina, Browner said the citizens had "proved the value of community participation in saving our nation's waters. They are a model for communities all over this country."

Browner visited the once-thriving port at Bladensburg, Md., during Earth Week with Maryland Governor Donald Schaefer, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), and local officials to underscore the need to protect public health and the environment by reforming water laws.

Statement of Carol M. Browner
Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
April 20, 1994

On Earth Day: A Rededication to Clean Water

On Earth Day this week, we rededicate ourselves to protecting public health and the world we live in. As we pause to look at the world and how we can protect it, we must recognize that eighty percent of the earth's surface is made up of water. To protect our earth, we must protect our water.

Behind me is the Bladensburg, Maryland, marina. This marina can no longer be used for boating or fishing because it is filled with silt from polluted runoff - the number one problem threatening America's waterways. The marina is symbolic of two things: that America's waters are in trouble, and that we have the power to solve the problem.

The Clinton Administration understands that we must protect our nation's waters by changing our water quality laws. Life depends on this precious resource. We depend on water to drink - water to cook with - water to wash our children - water to nourish our farmlands - water to sustain the birds and fish and plants with which we share our world.

Millions of Americans make their living from the nation's waters, fish and swim for recreation, or choose to locate their homes or businesses near waterways. And Americans expect their drinking water to be the cleanest in the world.

During the past twenty years, we have made progress in cleaning up our nation's water bodies. We no longer have rivers catching on fire. But much remains to be done.

Today EPA is releasing a report that show that 40 percent of our nation's rivers, lakes, and streams are polluted. Many more are threatened with pollution. This poses a threat to all Americans, all people, all of life itself.

The Clinton Administration has the solution to these problems. It's called a new Clean Water Act and a new Safe Drinking Water Act. We need to change our laws to gain greater protection of the water we drink and the water we use for recreation, business, and sustaining our natural world. We call on Congress to pass the new Clean Water Act and the new Safe Drinking Water Act that this Administration and many other key members of Congress have crafted.

We must make sure communities have the money to do the job they need to do for public health. To keep contaminants out of our drinking water supply, we must clean up our rivers, lakes, and streams. We must tackle the polluted runoff that streams off our city streets, lawns, farms, and industrial plants - the pollution that has caused problems at this marina.

On Earth Day, let us rededicate ourselves to protecting this vital resource, both to sustain our own lives and to secure clean water for future generations. The time has come for a new Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act that make good environmental and economic sense - for the benefit of all Americans.