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Jewish Community Disappointed by House Vote on Clean Water

January 14, 2016, Washington, D.C., – Yesterday, the House of Representative voted to repeal the Clean Water Rule under the Congressional Review Act. The House vote follows a similar action in the Senate. The repeal will now proceed to the President, who has threatened to veto it. In response to the vote, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) issued the following statement:

The Clean Water Rule, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, restores protections and clarifies the applicability of the Clean Water Act to streams, wetlands and other bodies of water. The Rule would help prevent flooding, filter pollution, and help supply one in three Americans with clean drinking water. Access to clean water, free of pollutants, is an issue of equity and environmental stewardship that speaks directly to our Jewish values.

“For us as Jews, water and humanity are both sacred. People’s access to clean water is a fundamental human right, and a core Jewish value. Our holidays and sacred texts revolve around rain cycles and water-dependent agriculture. Protecting the earth’s living waters is a godly obligation, since we know God as the ‘Source of the Waters of Life’ (Jeremiah 2:13, 17:13). Advocating for the Clean Water Rule to preserve the Waters of the United States is, for us, all about protecting these divine ‘Waters of Life,’ and part of our duty to be enlightened stewards of God’s great creation,” said COEJL Chair, Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb.

COEJL is an initiative of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Jewish partner to the National Religious Partnership on the Environment. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs is the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community and serves as the advisory body for the 16 national and 125 local Jewish community relations organizations.

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