Across the country, Americans are hurting. From the big cities of the coasts to the industrial heartland to our rural communities, the slumping economy is taking its toll in shuttered businesses, disappearing jobs, bankruptcies, foreclosures and an increased sense of anxiety about our collective future.
October 18, 2007 marks the 35th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, a landmark law intended to restore and maintain the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters. In passing the Clean Water Act, Congress set the goals of eliminating the discharge of pollutants into the nation’s waterways by 1985 and making all U.S. waterways fishable and swimmable by 1983. Although we have made significant progress in improving water quality since the passage of the Clean Water Act, we are far from realizing the Act’s original vision.
After decades of scientific inquiry, 600 public hearings, and a record 1.6 million comments from the American public, the Clinton administration issued the Roadless Area Conservation Rule in January 2001. The Roadless Rule, as it is commonly known, originally protected 58.5 million acres of wild national forest land from most commercial logging and road-building, and associated mining and drilling. Since then, the Bush administration has removed these protections from 9.5 million acres of roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest.
Renewable energy in the United States is on the rise. America now generates twice as much electricity from the wind and the sun as we did just four years ago, and 2007 promises to be another year of record growth.
You can’t count the many ways that state parks make life better here in Texas. They protect the clean water that we depend on. They provide a home for some of Texas’ most wondrous wildlife. The beautiful natural scenery of our parks provides a backdrop for some of the most amazing hikes you can imagine. And the breadth and range of those parks gives people all across Texas untold opportunities for fishing, swimming, camping and other recreational activities.