While we have been recently discussing the environmental meltdown in China, including unimaginable river pollution, it is important to keep in mind our own environmental problems. A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency captures how bad the situation is for our surface water. Fifty-five percent of U.S. river and stream lengths were found to be in poor condition for aquatic life due to fertilizers and other runoff.
The EPA has found harmful levels of phosphorus and nitrogen as well as runoff from urban areas that have continued to degrade our 1.2 million miles of streams and rivers. With candidates like Romney calling for reduced environmental controls, such studies show the cost of such short-sighted policies. Only 21 percent of our river and stream resources were found to be in good condition — a six percent drop from 2004.
In addition to this degradation, we continue to loose underground drinking water at an alarming rate. The EPA report puts the lie to arguments that our regulations are trying to achieve some utopian environmental world. We are losing ground or, in this case, water due to our lack of commitment to cleaning the environment for this and future generations.