NPCA, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and 26 additional organizations are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Third Circuit to uphold a federal district court’s September 2013 ruling in support of the Clean Water Blueprint
Washington, D.C. – Today the nation’s leading park advocacy organization, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), and the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, which works to promote clean waterways in West Virginia, filed an amicus brief in support of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, a plan for restoring clean water in Chesapeake streams and rivers.
“Protecting clean water in and around our national parks is vital to human health, park wildlife, visitor enjoyment, and to the region’s economic future,” said Theresa Pierno, Chief Operating Officer of the National Parks Conservation Association. “The Chesapeake watershed is home to more than 50 of our national parks, from Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, which welcome millions of visitors annually, contributing billions in visitor spending, and supporting thousands of jobs.”
Earlier this year, 21 state attorneys general joined the American Farm Bureau Federation’s efforts to dismantle the Chesapeake’s Clean Water Blueprint. The Bureau’s appeal, if successful, would not only threaten clean water for Chesapeake-area residents, but also would threaten efforts for clean water across the country. “Clean water is not a luxury and, once degraded, it is difficult and costly to restore,” added Pierno. “Decisions to reduce pollution upstream will help improve water quality in states, communities, and parks downstream.”
In a remarkable example of collaboration, the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint was developed and agreed upon by citizens working with local, state and federal stakeholders – all with the goal of achieving clean water for the surrounding communities, and was again supported publically by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring this month. Currently, urban and suburban development and agricultural practices have resulted in increased levels of polluted storm water and nutrient runoff into Chesapeake streams and rivers, threatening progress otherwise being made to reduce pollution from industrial sources.
“The Elk River chemical leak that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians and shut down business in our state capital, showed the need for reasonable regulations to protect our priceless clean water resources,” said Angie Rosser, Executive Director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “We strongly support efforts to reduce pollution in West Virginia and in neighboring rivers and streams.”
“Clean water for our communities and national parks is a win-win for all,” said Pierno. “Rather than fighting against successful models for clean water, more communities must work together to find solutions that are effective, and can be replicated in watersheds across the country.”
The NPCA and West Virginia Rivers Coalition amicus brief was submitted to the U.S Court of Appeals in the Third Circuit today in support of upholding the successful Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. It was signed by an additional 26 national and regional organizations representing all 21 states whose attorneys general oppose the plan for clean water for the Chesapeake region, and by extension, communities across the country.
The national and regional groups joining the amicus include: National Parks Conservation Association (national); Alliance for the Great Lakes (Illinois, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin); Environmental Law & Policy Center (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin); Gulf Restoration Network (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Florida and Texas). The state groups include: Alabama: One World Adventure Co.; Alaska: Cook Inletkeeper;
Arkansas: Ozark Society; Florida: Apalachicola Riverkeeper; Matanzas Riverkeeper; Ocean Reef Conservation Association; Georgia: Chattahoochee Riverkeeper; Indiana: Hoosier Environmental Council; Save the Dunes; Kansas: Kansas Riverkeeper for Friends of the Kaw; Kentucky: Kentucky Waterways Alliance; Kentucky Resources Council; Louisiana: Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper; Michigan: Grand Traverse Baykeeper; Missouri: Missouri Coalition for the Environment; Montana: Upper Missouri Waterkeeper; Nebraska: Nebraska Wildlife Federation; Oklahoma: Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma; Grand Riverkeeper; South Carolina: Charleston Waterkeeper; Texas: Audubon Texas; Utah: Utah Rivers Council; West Virginia: West Virginia Rivers Coalition; Wyoming: Wyoming Outdoor Council. Click here for additional information on each group or to reach out to them directly.
About the National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA and its 800,000 members and supporters work together to protect our National Park System and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for our children and grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.npca.org.
About the West Virginia Rivers Coalition
The nonprofit West Virginia Rivers Coalition works to conserve and restore the state’s rivers and streams and provide a voice for those who value water-based recreation and clean, drinkable, fishable, and swimmable waters. For more information, please visit www.wvrivers.org.