Protect the 10,000 Lakes
Short-sighted legal decisions have left more than half of Minnesota’s streams vulnerable to pollution and development. Now, polluters’ allies in Congress — including Minnesota’s Rep. Michele Bachmann — are trying to block the EPA from restoring vital safeguards.
At risk: Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes
Right now, more than half of Minnesota’a streams and hundreds of acres of wetlands may be vulnerable to pollution and development. Polluters can dump garbage into streams, developers can pave over wetlands to build strip malls, and the cops on the environmental beat can’t do much about it. And it’s not just small streams and wetlands that will suffer — these waterways are the same ones that feed the more than 10,000 lakes in Minnesota and help to keep them clean.
Polluters poke holes in Clean Water Act
For nearly 40 years, the Clean Water Act has helped Minnesota — and states across the nation — care for and clean up our waterways. Thanks in large part to this law, rivers are no longer so polluted that they catch fire, as Ohio’s Cuyahoga infamously did in 1969. Still, much work remains to be done. Our report, “Wasting our Waterways” found that polluters dumped more than 2 million tons of toxic chemicals into Minnesota’s waterways in a single year. We need to do more to protect our lakes — not less.
Unfortunately, over the past decade, polluters and irresponsible developers have used the courts to put Clean Water Act protections in legal limbo, arguing that the law doesn’t cover the smaller streams and wetlands that feed and clean our lakes. They want to throw out nearly 40 years of Clean Water Act protection, leaving polluting industries free to dump into our streams and pave over our wetlands without asking for permission.
The EPA can protect our lakes — but Congress threatens to stand in the way
Since 2008, we have been urging Congress to protect our lakes by simply declaring that the Clean Water Act applies to all of Minnesota’s — and America’s — waters. But, stymied at every turn by industry lobbyists and powerful special interests, we turned instead to the EPA for action.
This spring, we and our allies across the country submitted more than 170,000 petitions to Administrator Lisa Jackson, urging her to restore protections to all of our waters. In April, she announced a plan to do just that. But Rep. Bachmann and polluters’ other allies in Congress won’t give up — and now they’re threatening to stop the EPA from doing its job.
At the same time, powerful corporate interests are preparing for battle: ExxonMobil threatened “legal warfare” if the EPA moves forward with its plan to restore Clean Water Act protections.
Our plan to defend Minnesota’s lakes
We refuse to let Rep. Bachmann open our precious waterways to more dumping and development. We’re bringing together Minnesotans from all walks of life to protect our lakes. From anglers to swimmers, clergy to scientists, local officials to ordinary families, we all have a stake in keeping our water clean.
Our citizen outreach staff has been knocking on doors across the state, educating Minnesotans about what’s at stake. Whether we head up north for a weekend, or stay near home to swim and fish, Minnesota’s lakes are a big reason our state is such a great place to live and visit. But if we’re going to push past ExxonMobil and other powerful polluters, we’re going to need everyone who cares about Minnesota’s Lakes to get involved. Join our campaign by sending the EPA a message today.
Tell the Environmental Protection Agency that you love Minnesota’s lakes and want to see them protected.
- More than half of Minnesota’s streams and wetlands are vulnerable to pollution and development
- Polluters dumped 2 million pounds of toxic chemicals into our water in a single year.
- Thousands of Minnesotans have already joined our call to protect Minnesota’s lakes.