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Protecting the Waters of the United States
 
May 27, 2015

“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."
 Amos 5:24
 
Water as a metaphor flows through scripture, perhaps because of the essential role water plays in sustaining human life and the abundance of God’s creation. Water is also central to our spiritual lives. In the waters of baptism we begin our journey as Christians; the water that makes possible both the bread and wine of Communion.
 
So how does the scriptural significance of water relate to our calling to seek justice for our communities and protect that which plays a central role in creation? For more than four decades, the federal Clean Water Act has protected our nation’s waters, including the smaller streams and wetlands that feed into larger rivers and lakes. But many of these bodies of water are still under threat from pollution. 
 
In recent years two Supreme Court cases created uncertainty about whether smaller streams and wetlands merit the full protection of clean water regulations, and ordered the Administration to resolve this ambiguity. This week, the EPA issued a new clean water rule that protects small and seasonal streams and wetlands that connect to larger bodies of water, which we rely on for drinking, fishing and other uses. Under the new rule, many of the streams and wetlands that were historically covered under the Clean Water Act will again be covered.
 
As Lutherans we believe that we stand at the foot of the cross, and are called to acknowledge our own sin and brokenness. But we are also set free from sin and captivity by the love of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, so that we can be loving servants, caring for our neighbors and seeking justice for all the earth.
 
What does justice for creation look like? To quote from the ELCA social statement Caring for Creation: “When we act interdependently and in solidarity with creation, we do justice. We serve and keep the earth, trusting its bounty can be sufficient for all, and sustainable.” Justice for creation includes four principles—participation, solidarity, sufficiency and sustainability.  Within this framework of justice, the principles of sufficiency and sustainability speak most directly to the need to balance economic interests against protection of the earth to meet the needs of current and future generations. 
 
Learn more and take action now!  

- Learn more about the proposed rule and the Clean Water Act on from our ELCA Waters of the United States resource here.

- Write your U.S. Representative today by clicking here, and ask them to oppose efforts that prevent the EPA and Army Corps from protecting small streams and wetlands—your voice will make a difference!

"Living Earth Reflections" is now available on our ELCA Advocacy Blog
 
Want to learn more about ELCA’s commitment to advocating for public policy that supports the care for creation?  
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