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Potomac Named Nation’s Most Endangered River

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Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat and Ranking Member on the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, today highlighted a new report which finds that the Potomac River is the most endangered river in the United States.


“Our nation’s river, the Potomac, is a vital resource for tourists, outdoor enthusiasts and the five million people who depend on it for drinking water,” said Rep. Moran. “The American Rivers report is a wake up call that we must do more to protect our nation’s waterways, beginning with the Potomac River.”


Running through Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the Potomac has suffered from decades of urban, pharmaceutical and agricultural runoff. Recommendations in the Clean Water Act of 1972 have bolstered the health of the Potomac, but current Republican-led legislative efforts threaten to undo the progress that has been made.


In the 112th Congress, Republican lawmakers have pursued unprecedented attempts to block federal efforts to restore the Potomac River, including H.R. 4965, which would shrink the federal authority under the Clean Water Act, and H.R. 4153 which would block EPA’s ability to establish limits on the amount of pollution runoff the Potomac and other Chesapeake Bay tributaries can handle.


“This year’s Most Endangered Rivers list underscores how important clean water is to our drinking water, health, and economy,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers. “If Congress slashes clean water protections, more Americans will get sick and communities and businesses will suffer. We simply cannot afford to go back to a time when the Potomac and rivers nationwide were too polluted and dangerous to use.”


As Ranking Member on the House Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Moran serves as the lead Democrat in fighting against harmful anti-environmental legislation and draconian cuts to vital programs. During the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 appropriations debates in the House, Moran spearheaded efforts to oppose more than 20 anti-environmental and anti-conservation provisions and succeeded in removing all but two in the final budget deal.

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