AUSTIN- On Friday, San Antonio Congressman Charles Gonzalez stood up for the Edwards Aquifer and Guadalupe River by voting for better clean water protections for all Texas streams and wetlands, including those that feed the Edward Aquifer and the Guadalupe River. Despite opposition from Texas Congressmen Henry Cuellar, Lamar Smith, and Francisco Canseco, Representative Gonzalez joined other 7 Texas members of Congress in voting for an amendment to the House “Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act” (H.R. 5325), introduced by Congressmen Jim Moran (VA) and John Dingell (MI).
The Moran-Dingell amendment would strike language out of the original bill to block efforts by President Obama, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Army Corps of Engineers to ensure Texas’s waterways are better protected by the Clean Water Act. Unfortunately the measure failed 152-237.
“The Edwards Aquifer is the main source of drinking water for the city of San Antonio and the Guadalupe River is a fun destination for tubing and swimming with family and friends” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “We are thrilled that Representative Gonzalez stood up for Texas’ waterways and voted for more protections for up to 57 percent of Bexar county streams and for the drinking water of 10 million Texans. In order to protect our water, our health, and our environment, we urge President Obama to move quickly to finalize these proposed protections,” he added.
The vote happened as President Obama is about to sign off on the final guidelines for these protections, signifying one of the biggest steps forward for protecting Texas’s waterways in years.
San Antonio state Representatives Joe Farias, Mike Villarreal, Joaquin Castro and Roland Gutierrez have also showed their support by sending letters to the President asking for the finalization of the proposed guidelines to restore clean water Act protections. In addition, these protections have garnered massive public support nationally, from more than 200,000 concerned citizens, hundreds of sportsmen organizations, more than 140 local farmers, and many more.
Furthermore, a new poll commissioned by Environment Texas’s national affiliate, Environment America, and other national environmental and sportsmen organizations found that the public overwhelmingly supports this Obama administration proposal. The poll confirmed that – across party lines and in all age groups – voters demand clean water for safe drinking water and oppose the pollution of places where their families fish and swim.
“We can’t allow Congress to pull the rug out from under us. In order to protect our water, our health, and our environment, we urge President Obama to move quickly to finalize these proposed protections,” concluded Metzger.