U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox joined local leaders in Seattle to kick off the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act celebration tour.
“When Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972—with an overwhelming bipartisan majority—it charted a new path for America’s waters. As a result, we have seen transformational progress over the last 50 years—waters that were once polluted are now fishable and swimmable,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “President Biden and Congress have laid the foundation for the next 50 years of progress by investing $50 billion in EPA’s water programs through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
“Here in the Pacific Northwest, our iconic waterbodies are the lifeblood of our communities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Casey Sixkiller. “We depend on them for so many things – drinking water, transportation and goods movement, recreation, our culture and our way of life. In many ways, water defines us. The Clean Water Act fueled the Puget Sound National Estuary Program and our highly successful partnerships with state, Tribal, local governments and NGOs. Together we have made great progress to protect and restore the Sound and together we’ll continue this critically important work.”
Five decades of Clean Water Act implementation have reduced direct pollution discharges to our nation’s waters and improved wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. This progress was built on strong partnerships between EPA, and state, local, and Tribal governments as well as community and environmental organizations, industry, and agriculture.
“Over the past 50 years, the Clean Water Act has been a powerful tool to protect and restore water quality in Washington,” said Laura Watson, Washington Department of Ecology Director. “A strong partnership with EPA helps us to preserve our state’s waters, and provide a healthy environment for our families, farms, and communities.”
As the EPA kicks off a tour celebrating the Clean Water Act, the agency is also collaborating with its partners to chart a course for the next fifty years of progress for clean water. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has provided a historic investment in water infrastructure, including $12.7 billion through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund programs that were established by the 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act. This funding is a significant investment in the future of clean water in the country. And our investments in improved, resilient infrastructure will have positive impacts on our waterways for years to come.
Leading up to the 50th Anniversary of October 18, the tour will highlight waters that are essential to healthy people, vibrant ecosystems, agricultural productivity, and economic growth. Stops will include the Florida Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Cuyahoga River, the San Francisco Bay and more.