Water quality is on the decline in Colorado. The Clean Water Act (CWA) sets the goal that all of the nation’s waters be fishable and swimmable. Yet state water quality assessment reports show that over the past 6 years, the percentage of Colorado’s rivers and streams found to be fishable decreased by 7%. Even more alarming, the percentage of Colorado’s rivers and streams that support all of their classified uses has declined 21% since 1998.
Energy companies have proposed building a fleet of new coal-fired power plants across America. As of June 2006, power producers have approximately 150 new coal-fired plants on the drawing board, representing a $137 billion investment and the capacity to supply power to 96 million homes.
When drafting the Clean Water Act in 1972, legislators set the goals of making all U.S. waterways fishable and swimmable by 1983 and eliminating the discharge of pollutants into the nation’s waterways by 1985.
Power plants are the largest industrial source of U.S. air emissions of mercury, a potent neurotoxin that poses serious health hazards. Mercury is particularly harmful to the developing brain; even lowlevel exposure can cause learning disabilities, developmental delays, lowered IQ, and problems with attention and memory.
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