Clean water is the foundation of healthy communities. It is vital to everyone, from families who want safe drinking water, to fishermen and women who want to know their catch is safe to eat, to farmers who rely on it to grow their crops, and everyone in between. We understand the importance of clean water and healthy watersheds to our economy, to our environment and to our families.
Clean water has been a priority for this Administration from day one. Through an extensive set of policies and initiatives, we are working across Federal agencies, across governments and across sectors to use every tool in our toolbox to make sure Americans have the clean and healthy waters they need and deserve.
Today, we released a national clean water framework that affirms the Obama Administration’s comprehensive commitment to ensuring clean water and healthy waterways for American families, American communities, and the American economy. We're taking strong action to reduce contaminants in our drinking water by using the latest science to update drinking water standards, and by better protecting drinking water sources from pollution. We’re giving farmers incentives to reduce pollution, and giving landowners incentives to open up their lands for fishing, swimming, and other activities that promote public stewardship of our waters. We're working with states to make sure rural communities have affordable and modern clean water systems.
And we're partnering with states, communities, and stakeholders to restore valuable but deteriorating natural systems around the country. This includes iconic places like the Everglades, which supports tens of thousands of jobs and contributes billions to our economy. And places like the Chesapeake Bay, which supports billions each year in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism – and where the cultural value to communities is immeasurable.
We’re also updating the Nation's water policies to ensure they meet modern challenges, reflect the latest science, and respond to Americans' goals for healthy and safe water resources and communities. This includes draft guidance, released today, that would clarify where the Clean Water Act applies nationwide. This will help restore long-standing protection to critical waters and provide clearer, less burdensome guidelines for determining which water bodies we can keep safe from pollution and other pressures. This draft guidance will be open for 60 days of public comment to allow the public and stakeholders to provide input and feedback before it is finalized.
Since the beginning of this Administration, we have been working hard to ensure clean water. Today we've reaffirmed that commitment, and promised to continue to lead on clean water, and to support our partners across the country who are working to ensure the health and economic vitality of American communities.
Nancy Sutley is Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality