Sierra Club Commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act


WASHINGTON, DC -- Fifty years ago today -- on October 18, 1972 -- Congress passed the Clean Water Act with extraordinary bipartisan support, and in the decades since, the Act has served as our most fundamental tool for protecting our nation’s waters and the communities that rely on them. Polling shows that the Clean Water Act remains one of the most popular and respected pieces of legislation in US history.

Over the ensuing decades, corporate polluters, the industry, and their allies in Congress have disregarded this public support and have attempted to gut the Clean Water Act through anti-clean water legislation, most recently with the Supreme Court Sackett v. EPA case challenging which waters are protected under the Act. Concurrently, the Sierra Club has continued to fight to maintain and strengthen protections for our waters across the country. 

In response, Sierra Club Clean Water Director Beth Roach issued the following statement:

“Access to clean, safe, reliable water is a fundamental human right for every person in this country, regardless of where they live or the color of their skin. For the past 50 years, the Clean Water Act has provided the foundation for vast improvements in the health and well-being of our communities and the waters they rely on. Yet during that time, polluters and the industry have again and again tried to chip away and gut those protections in the name of profit, and communities -- particularly lower-income and communities of color -- continue to bear the brunt of our nation’s water pollution and water crises. 

“Water is one of our most critical resources, and the health of our communities and our climate depend on protecting and strengthening the Clean Water Act so that every person in every community has reliable access to safe, clean water. Protecting our waters should always be a national priority, and the Sierra Club is committed to continuing the fight for clean water for all.”


Read the Sierra Club’s new blog - The Clean Water Act at 50: Five Decades of Sierra Club Legal Advocacy.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit