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The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

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At 35, Clean Water Act Feeling a ‘Mid Life Crisis’

October 18, 2007

New York, NY – A federal law that protects the nation's water supply turns 35 today, and on the anniversary supporters say the "Clean Water Act" needs a little help. The Act has been weakened over the years by court challenges and rule changes. Peter Lehner, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, says with attacks coming from so many directions, the Act is going through a mid-life crisis, of sorts, at age 35.

"I would say happy birthday, it needs to get back in shape, back in the shape it used to be when it was younger, and it needs to recognize that we need a few new tools for the future."

Lehner says the Act has accomplished a lot by cutting down on industrial pollution, but needs to be updated to address the major threats coming from urban and suburban water runoff.

Congressman John Hall is one of 172 lawmakers supporting an amendment, known as the "Clean Water Restoration Act," to deal with the burdens that urban sprawl is putting on water treatment systems.

"It basically requires the states to prioritize the money, first of all for existing communities, to upgrade and improve and expand existing water treatment plants as opposed to building new ones, where new developments might go in."

Lehner agrees the Act must be updated, to deal with more than just pollution from industry.

"Right now, we're seeing the biggest problems caused by what we think of as runoff. Not something coming out of pipes, but off of city streets and suburban lawns and industrial areas. That's the real cause of beach closure, and that's why drinking water areas are being threatened."

More information on the Clean Water Restoration Act can be found at the Natural Resources Defense Council website http://www.nrdc.org.

Michael Clifford/John Robinson, Public News Service - NY