From Jeff Kelble, President, PRKN:
The post-election power shift in Washington creates new challenges to our mission of keeping the Clean Water Act’s promise of swimmable, drinkable and fishable waters alive. If even a fraction of the campaign rhetoric becomes reality, we’re on the brink of the most dramatic federal regulatory rollbacks in decades. While our President-elect aims to break the gridlock (or drain the swamp) in Washington we are justifiably worried that our environmental protections are going to get caught in the cross-hairs considering President-elect Trump has promised to dismantle the EPA “in almost every form”.
But Americans are still united in our vision for clean water and this is the ray of hope that I want to shine brightly as we dedicate this issue of our newsletter to the Clean Water Act, an act which we credit for 45 years of progress in cleaning up the Potomac which had once been a national disgrace.
And though it’s not my custom to solicit our members during my letter from the president I would be failing in my duty if I didn’t point out that our ability to meet these new challenges is directly tied to your support and engagement.
Your greater support means stronger advocacy — more water monitoring for use in court against polluters, more yard signs alerting the public about raw sewage being dumped into our rivers, and more events that build appreciation for these unique and amazing rivers we love and work to protect— to name just a few. As the incoming administration heats up their rhetoric for dismantling governmental social justice programs like clean water protections, Americans are mobilizing to provide funds to nonprofits which are increasingly being viewed as the counterbalance. I just hope people don’t overlook the small and regional groups. There’s no replacing the local grassroots actions that organizations like PRKN take to protect our own river’s most precious assets.
To this effect, your greater engagement is going to become critical as our citizenry may prove to be the only real throttle to control a runaway anti-environmental agenda. And I’m talking about “across the aisle” type engagement. As I’ve said many times we’re lucky that our membership is made up of an even mix of conservative and liberal thinkers and it’s going to take this kind of diversity in representation to remain relevant to our lawmakers. This year we are begging you to stay tuned to the “Riverkeeper Channel”. In return, we promise we will identify the most valuable actions you can take and then we amplify your voice.
These election results will also demand increased vigilance in identifying and preventing polluters who will inevitably be emboldened by the cavalier attitude taken by the President-elect toward our natural resources. With your help, we’ll redouble our advocacy at the state and local level to protect what we cherish about the Potomac and Shenandoah. We will also work with Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Waterkeeper Alliance, and other regional and national partners to fight the attacks on the Federal Clean Water Act.
Together, we’ve accomplished a lot. Now we need your support to continue to be the voice of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers for future generations.