While I am a relatively new resident of Maine, growing up I spent many summers in Ogunquit and Bar Harbor. Then, and even more so now that I live here, I cannot hear the word “Maine” without picturing the state’s forests, rivers, lakes and coastline and conjuring memories of camping, hiking and swimming.

As I grow more familiar with the politics here, I become fearful that Maine’s lakes and rivers, beautiful cornerstones of what makes Maine not only a popular tourist destination during the summer months, but also an enormous draw for me in terms of putting down roots here in Maine, are at risk.

Loopholes in the Clean Water Act left 55 percent of Maine’s streams vulnerable to pollution, and affect the drinking water for close to half a million Mainers.

Thankfully, the EPA is working to protect Maine’s water, and on Aug. 28, the Clean Water Rule was finalized, closing the loopholes in the Clean Water Act and protecting nearly 25,000 miles of waterways across the state.

This is the biggest step forward for clean water in over a decade, and it helps ensure that local waterways like the Penobscot, Presumpscot, and Sebago Lake are clean enough for fishing and swimming for generations to come.

For this reason, despite the current impasse between the EPA and Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and Gov. Paul LePage urging our congressional delegation to fight the EPA on the validity of the Clean Water Rule protections, our delegation must choose to side with clean water over the polluters.

The closing of loopholes in the Clean Water Act is anything but “unreasonable and arbitrary,” as LePage put it, but rather are crucial for maintaining healthy waterways in Maine and ensuring a bright future for the state.

Caleb Greenawalt

Environment Maine

Portland

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