A Message From Heritage Conservancy’s President On the Recent Rollback of Clean Water Protections

Yesterday, it was announced that millions of miles of streams and about half of the country’s wetlands were removed from federal protection by the current administration and the EPA. The EPA’s own advisory board criticized this plan.

The rollback of these clean water protections should have all of us concerned. We now have in place a significantly weaker set of regulations that allows more pollution to be dumped into our small streams and wetlands.

For those of us who have been around long enough, we’ve seen firsthand the positive impact that strong, vital regulations can have on water quality. The Clean Water Act of the 1970s sought to curtail pollution and untreated wastewater from municipal and industrial sources. After these regulations were implemented, we saw a rebound in the once visibly polluted Delaware River after decades of abuse. Thankfully, it is in a much healthier place now because of these regulations.

15 million people depend on the Delaware River for their drinking water, and thousands of smaller tributaries around our region contribute to the river. This regulatory rollback leaves our smaller bodies of water more vulnerable, which leaves all of us vulnerable.

At its core of land protection and historic preservation, Heritage Conservancy’s mission protects the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. A major component of our work is protecting this area’s interconnected network of waterways because it directly affects the quality of life for everyone in your community.

Last summer, Heritage Conservancy preserved a property spanning Springfield and Lower Saucon Townships. This property contains portions of the headwater tributary of Cooks Creek and is part of the Springfield Township Source Water Protection Area, which provides public drinking water directly to local residents.

A small creek with a big impact. These are the types of waterways that could be left vulnerable without protections under the new regulations.

Short-term economic gain should not come before our environment. Business is vital to the livelihood of our economy, but it must be balanced with environmental protections and smart regulations to prevent harm to wildlife and ourselves that may far outlast and outweigh the short-term gain.

We know that this community cares deeply about the environment. We see it every day. Just this past Monday, 90 community members volunteered with our organization during a trash cleanup around the Bristol Marsh, which helps keep our waterways clean, in honor of the MLK Day of Service.

If environmental protections that keep all of us safe matter to you, get active. Contact your current elected officials, and vote for elected officials who care about the environment. Volunteer for organizations that make a positive difference for the environment, and become a member of the organizations you care about.

Heritage Conservancy works to protect our natural resources, and we need you alongside us!