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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

On World Water Day, advocates call on Congress to reinstate protections

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Friday, March 22, 2024   

Today is World Water Day, established 21 years ago by the United Nations to promote clean, fresh water.

This year, advocates in the U.S. are pressing Congress to reinstate Obama-era Clean Water Act protections for smaller seasonal streams, safeguards struck down last May by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

Jim Murphy, senior director of legal advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation, explained the urgency of restoring the previous rules.

"With those protections now significantly scaled back, if we don't take action, we're going to see that type of pollution again," Murphy asserted. "Especially with water under strain from climate change, and other threats. Americans can't afford that."

The Clean Water Act of 2023 would restore the Waters of the United States rule. It has more than 120 co-sponsors but remains stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Murphy pointed out it is now up to the states to enforce their own environmental protections.

"I think one of the biggest challenges for California is ensuring that the state has the resources needed to deal with the actual workload that this rollback has caused," Murphy noted.

Over the past few years, California has alternated between extreme drought and flooding rains linked to climate change. State, federal, and local agencies are spending hundreds of millions to build flood plains to capture excess water in the wet years and let it soak in to replenish the aquifers.


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