A spring in our step: progress for rivers

Published 6/10/2022  |  American Rivers
U.S. Capitol | Photo by Sarah Baker o

It has been a busy and productive spring! Big victories for rivers take time, and we celebrate every positive step. With the help of our supporters and partners, we’re building momentum every day.

We’re using our national policy expertise to forge solutions that benefit rivers in your backyard, and nationwide. Here are three promising developments from just the past few weeks:

Action Days

This week, we teamed up with River Network and Waterkeeper Alliance to host River Action Days. Eighty grassroots river leaders from across the country gathered in Washington, DC to deliver a clear call to action to our elected leaders. In 89 meetings with both Democrat and Republican offices river advocates urged members of Congress to 1) strengthen clean water protections, 2) ensure water infrastructure funds are equitably distributed, and 3) improve agriculture conservation programs. These meetings –your voices — make a difference. We will continue to keep the pressure on, and will seize opportunities to work with elected leaders to drive lasting progress for rivers.

Clean Water

The Biden administration recently released its proposed rule to update the regulatory requirements for water quality certification under the Clean Water Act section 401. American Rivers and others pushed hard for this. The proposed rule strengthens the authority of states and Tribal Nations to protect their rivers and water resources. Tom Kiernan, president of American Rivers said, “We applaud the Biden administration for taking this important step to restore clean water safeguards. Ensuring states and Tribal Nations have the ability to advocate for their rights and interests is essential to protecting and restoring rivers nationwide. The way toward just, equitable solutions is for those most impacted by threats to rivers to play a meaningful role in decision-making. States and Tribal Nations have a vital role to play in creating a future of clean water and healthy rivers everywhere, for everyone.”  EPA is accepting public comment on the proposed rule, and you can read more in their press release.

Hydropower

In May, Tom Kiernan testified before the Subcommittee on Energy of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in a hearing titled “Modernizing Hydropower: Licensing and Reforms for a Clean Energy Future.” The hearing explored a hydropower licensing reform package, negotiated with conservation groups, the hydropower industry and Tribes. Read Tom’s testimony and learn more about how American Rivers is working to strike a balance, ensuring healthy, flowing rivers and a smart path forward for hydropower in our nation’s energy future.

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