Troubling news from American Rivers, the 75,000-member strong nonprofit that is trying to save and restore our nation's rivers:
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The Supreme Court of the United States today handed down a divided decision in the Rapanos and Carabell cases that will lead to confusion on the ground and grave risk for the health of streams and rivers. A centrist opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy now stands as the only impediment to four justices pushing to roll back significant protections of the Clean Water Act for the majority of streams in the United States. Today's decision underscores the need for Congress to act to restore a semblance of consistency to wetland and stream regulations.
Rebecca R. Wodder, President of American Rivers, issued the following statement on this decision:
"The Supreme Court leaves protection of clean water law in this country in a horrible muddle with this decision. While Justice Kennedy's opinion keeps us from going over the precipice, dangling on the edge in every last wetlands case isn't a long-term solution. Congress must step in and confirm, once and for all, that you can't protect the rivers and lakes that people depend on for drinking water and more, without protecting the waters that flow into them.
"Any elementary school kid can tell you that water flows downhill, and you can't protect important things downstream while you're polluting, destroying, or paving over the upstream sources of our rivers. Leaving this mess unresolved isn't an option and leaving it up to the Army Corps of Engineers to write more confused rules will not help matters either; Congress must act to restore the original intent of the Clean Water Act, truly protecting the waters our communities depend upon."