Everyone deserves access to a glass of clean water

We must place safe and clean water at the center of our communities and make them healthier and more equitable than before.

SHARE Everyone deserves access to a glass of clean water

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled April 23 that sewage plants and other industries cannot avoid environmental requirements under landmark clean-water protections when they send dirty water on an indirect route to rivers, oceans and other navigable waterways.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Access to clean water is an essential part of the green — and blue — infrastructure that connects us all.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, basic hygiene advice, such as “wash your hands,” is a stark reminder of the importance of clean water to our personal health. Yet, thousands in the Great Lakes region do not have access to clean water at home, despite living near the largest surface freshwater system in the world. Surrounded by such a bountiful natural gift, this is unacceptable.

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We must place safe and clean water at the center of our communities and make them healthier and more equitable than before. Together, we can create a Great Lakes region and a planet with thriving, healthy ecosystems and communities.

While the Trump administration fires unwelcome salvos against environmental protection, we know that clean water remains as solid a nonpartisan issue as you will find. Chicagoland policymakers can continue this tradition and be national leaders by prioritizing access to clean water in all its forms.

Today’s reality reinforces the inseparable connection between water and our health. We can all emerge from this crisis stronger and ready to build a sustainable future that will last for generations. A healthy time outdoors, a stunning view, and a safe, full glass of water — that’s the promise of the Great Lakes. Let’s make sure it’s shared by all.

JoelBrammeier, president and chief executive officer, Alliance for the Great Lakes

Good laugh

After following the stressful “stay at home” edict for several weeks, my husband and I adopted an uplifting practice: we look at the comic strip pages before reading the rest of the Sun-Times. And that is where — in the hilarious “Pearls Before Swine” strip — we found a useful phrase during these difficult times.

Synopsis: Three main characters are distributing the contents of their almost-bare cupboard. They parcel out pieces of the last item in a “one for you, one for me” fashion. The last panel reveals Goat stating: “The last of the toilet paper” while Rat admonishes: “Guard your squares carefully” and Pig shouts out the uplifting words: “If I got squares, I got no cares.” (Admit it: That made you feel better just reading it!)

Christine Craven, Evergreen Park

Write these crimes down

First, President Donald Trump was warned of the virus and did nothing — even saying it was nothing of concern, a flagrant breach of leadership.Then, when governors stepped up to defend against the virus by lockdown orders, Trump aided and abetted (to abet is to give advice or encouragement to a crime) the violation of those orders by tweeting “LIBERATE MICHIGAN.”(Typically, a person who aids or abets a crime is guilty of that crime and is punishable as provided for that crime.)We now have Trump committing another crime while president — a terrible precedent.

Not to be outdone, we have U.S. Attorney General William Barr aiding Trump’s crime.Barr has indicated that he will review all the state rules and find the ones that he thinks “go too far.” When these targets are located, says Barr, he will try to “jawbone the governors into rolling them back.”How this aligns with the GOP’s hallowed states’ rights principle shows that it only applies when convenient.Further, Barr is again working for Trump — not exactly the job he swore to uphold as attorney general.Let’s write all these crimes down and bring a reckoning after the election.

Lee Knohl, Evanston

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