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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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Rule helps to ensure our waterways stay protected

Rule helps to ensure our waterways stay protected

In Louisiana we know that clean water is a fundamental component of all life. And as a person of faith, I believe that water plays a spiritual role as well. The Bible refers to water as a gift from God and it is key to the Christian sacrament of baptism.

It is important that clean water be protected for all people, particularly vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and people in low-income communities.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a Waters of the US rule, which clarifies what waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act and what waterways are not.

It is important that the EPA finalize this rule so that waterways and communities in Louisiana and the rest of the country can be protected from pollution. Recent Supreme Court decisions make these clarifications necessary. The EPA is working with farmers, businesses and the public to finalize this rule.

In Louisiana, nearly 1.9 million people rely on drinking water from irregular, temporary, or headwater streams—water sources that the proposed rule aims to protect. Some of these waters run through the parishes like Terrebonne, Lafourche and St. Mary, which have significant populations of at-risk and low-income communities.

As Christians we are called to love our neighbor and to care for “the least of these” - vulnerable people who suffer from poor water quality. In caring for our neighbors we not only protect our families in Louisiana, but we also honor God. We are stewards for God’s earth and should protect Louisiana’s waters. A Waters of the U.S. rule will help to ensure that the health and prosperity of our communities is protected.

I urge the EPA to finalize this rule and I urge Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter to encourage the EPA to complete the rulemaking process so that the health of our families and waterways in Louisiana can be protected and improved.

I am a resident of Thibodaux, director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux and the Chair of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference Public Police Task Force.

Robert D. Gorman