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August 11, 1998: Clean Water For Healthy Families

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Nature's bounty must not be squandered for short-term gain...Environmental stewardship is no abstract goal, but rather, the best way to ensure sustained economic growth. I believe we must work together to help all Americans see the wisdom of this long-term view. For if we do, we can improve the health of our people and our communities. We can honor our deepest obligation to pass on to our children the rich, green, thriving planet that God gave to us.

President Bill Clinton
August 11, 1998

Today, President Clinton travels to San Francisco where he tours a water treatment plant and announces a new measure to ensure clean, safe drinking water for America's families. Beginning next year, water utilities will provide "consumer confidence" reports to their customers on the quality of their drinking water. The President will also call on Congress to support his initiatives on clean water, public lands, and global warming, and to abandon legislative "riders" that would weaken environmental protections.

Safeguarding Our Drinking Water. President Clinton has been working to ensure safe drinking water for our communities. The President proposed, and in 1996 the Congress passed, major reforms to the Safe Drinking Water Act, which streamlined scientific and regulatory processes to target contaminants that pose the greatest health risks, and provided resources to communities to upgrade their water systems. Since 1993, the number of Americans receiving water from systems reporting no violations of federal health standards has grown by 10 million.

Defending Our Communities' Right To Know About Polluted Drinking Water. One powerful tool against pollution is information -- letting people know what is being put into their water and air. Today, the President announces the release of a final rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will give consumers important information about their drinking water. Beginning October 1, 1999, 55,000 water utility companies, serving 240 million Americans, will provide "consumer confidence" reports at least once a year. In most systems, these reports will be delivered to every customer served by the company and, for systems that service over 100,000 people, the reports will be available on the Internet. The reports will:

  • Tell consumers where their water comes from and whether it meets federal drinking water standards;
  • Identify potential sources of any contaminants found, and the potential health effects if drinking water standards are violated;
  • Include special health advisories for people with medical conditions, alerting them to risks posed by certain contaminants;
  • Tell consumers where they can go for more information on water quality.

Progress, Not Partisanship, On The Environment. To achieve further progress in protecting our environment, President Clinton is calling on Congress to:

  • Fully fund his Clean Water Action Plan to help communities finish the job of cleaning our rivers, lakes, and coastal waters;
  • Release funds already appropriated through the Land and Water Conservation Fund to preserve 100 natural and historic sites across the nation;
  • Approve his proposed research and tax incentives to reduce greenhouse gas pollution; and
  • Withdraw legislative riders that would pave our parks and refuges, cripple wildlife protections, and deny taxpayers a fair return from oil leasing on public land.

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