NYU is well-known for the progressive views of its student body and the willingness of those students to take action on the issues that truly matter to them. Put simply, clean water needs to be one of these issues. The Environmental Protection Agency instituted the Clean Water Rule in August, a piece of regulation closing loopholes in the Clean Water Act. This rule reinstated protections to water sources that those loopholes had left vulnerable to pollution, including 28,785 miles of streams in New York alone. It also protects drinking water for over 11 million New Yorkers, over 50 percent of the population, from harmful toxins frequently dumped into these water sources by industry. It would seem as though the problem of unsafe drinking water has been effectively dealt with, but Congress last week gave in to the lobbying of big business and dismantled the Clean Water Rule. Thankfully, New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer have always stood strong in their support of clean water and voted to protect the rule. NYU students must do their part and raise awareness about the importance of clean water to every facet of our life.
Clean water is not a luxury but a necessity. In this day and age when society is so aware of the dangers of compromised water, it is appalling that our elected officials would allow their constituents to live in danger of the diseases they would be in risk of without the protections of the Clean Water Act. Not only is this an issue of health and safety, but it is also an economic necessity. Breweries, farms, recreational businesses and the entire food service industry rely on clean water, and our country needs healthy citizens to contribute to the workforce.
Big businesses such as large-scale farming and oil and gas companies, have been fighting this rule since its enactment. It is upsetting that these businesses are willing to risk the lives of their consumers for short-term profits and it’s even more disappointing that Congress has let them get so far.
As students, we are the ones who are going to inherit this world and should not be willing to stand for this destruction of the essential natural resources of the Earth. We need to make sure our voices are heard by those currently running the government. There is still hope that the Clean Water Rule is not dead, as President Obama intends to veto the bill that dismantled it. At NYU, we need to support our Senators in their dedication to clean water and set an example for the country. Citizens of this country demand clean water, so let’s give our representatives the mandate they need to uphold the veto, both in New York and our home states.
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Email Anubhuti Kumar at [email protected]