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EPA Says Clean Water Important to the Economy Report released WASHINGTON DC The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator recently released a report showing how the economy depends on clean water. At the same time, the Agency warns that to provide the powerful boost clean water gives to the economy, the U.S. faces significant challenges in cleaning up the nation's remaining polluted waterways. "Americans care deeply about their rivers, lakes and shorelines," said Administrator Carol M. Browner. "A third of all Americans visit coastal areas each year, generating new jobs and billions of dollars for our economy. However, our summertime traditions continue to be affected by closed beaches and fish advisories, resulting in lost revenues and public health hazards. "Although the United States has made tremendous progress cleaning up its water by removing billions of pounds of pollutants and doubling the number of waterways safe for fishing and swimming, a majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a polluted lake, river, stream or coastal area," said Browner. "The Clinton/Gore Administration will soon issue an important new standard to help states clean up remaining polluted waters across the country. In a new publication on the economic impact of clean water entitled, "Liquid Assets 2000," EPA reports: A third of all Americans visit coastal areas each year, making a total of 910 million trips while spending about $44 billion. Each year, millions of additional dollars go to non-coastal recreational waterways; Water used for irrigating crops and raising livestock helps American farmers produce and sell $197 billion worth of food and fiber each year; Manufacturers use more than nine trillion gallons of fresh water every year; Every year, the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and coastal areas produce more than 10 billion pounds of fish and shellfish; States have identified almost 300,000 miles of rivers and streams and more than five million acres of lakes that do not meet state water quality goals; In l998, about one-third of the 1,062 beaches reporting to EPA had at least one health advisory or closing; over 2,500 fish consumption advisories or bans were issued by states in areas where fish were too contaminated to eat. Copies of the report, "Liquid Assets 2000: America's Water Resources at a Turning Point," are available at: http://www.epa.gov/water, under "What's New," or by calling EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds at 202-260-7040.

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June 18, 2019, 6:36 pm PDT

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