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Happy Birthday Clean Water Act

Clean Water Act Celebration

Contact Point:

Dianna Riddick
270-354-8714

Gene Nettles
270-236-2317

The Clean Water Act at 40 --- Then --- Now --- and ????

Water, too much and not enough, has now become the number one issue facing the future of West Kentucky. The greatest drought in over 60 years devastated West Kentucky in 2012. This is also the 40th anniversary of the Federal Clean Water Act of 1972, signed into law by President Richard Nixon.

How West Kentucky proceeds forward into the 21str Century will be greatly impacted by the access to, supply, use, and regulation of clean water.  The Clean Water Act is still the federal framework for answering these questions about clean water.

A birthday party is being held on October 18th on the campus of Murray State University to celebrate this breakthrough law.  In the era of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, great issues of clean and safe water dominated America’s public discussion.

Now, in 2012, industrial and environmental leaders from across West Kentucky are throwing a Clean Water Act Birthday Party. These leaders will cut the cake to toast the successes of the 1972 federal law. They will attempt to discuss the future of the Clean Water Act in terms of what worked and what didn’t work with the 1972 law.

This party will be held in the Jesse Jones science building at Murray State University in the Chemistry Hall Auditorium. The event starts 6:30 PM with refreshments. Program starts at 7 PM.

The Great Rivers Group of the Sierra Club plus the Environmental Student Society (MESS) are the co-sponsors for this event. Additional sponsorship will be offered by Ingram Barge and West Kentucky Journal.

The key note speaker for this event is Hank Graddy, a noted environmental attorney from the Lexington, Kentucky area. Additional panel participation will be from Natural Resources Soil Conservation, Army Corps of Engineers, and regional water experts. 

In June 1969, a floating oil slick on the Cuyahoga River, near Cleveland, burst into flames causing major fire damage to two key railroad bridges. In July of 1970, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare’s Bureau of Water Hygiene reported that 30% of drinking water samples had chemicals exceeding recommended public health standards. High levels of mercury and other heavy metals were found in public water supplies.

Passed in 1972, the Clean Water Act was a response to the nearly unchecked dumping of pollution into our waterways and water supplies.

Now, some 40 years later, are we better off or getting back into old dangerous ways with the issue of fresh water supplies in America? What is to be the future of fresh water supply and usage in West Kentucky? Will water be a right or will it be a privilege where access is controlled by price?

What happens to our way of life if Mother Nature forces several more years of water drought in West Kentucky? How will the Clean Water Act be updated to deal with these  questions?

The public is invited to celebrate the 40th birthday of the Clean Water Act of 1972 and take part in designing how it should work in the 21st Century.  


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