Growing up, I spent full summers in Zimmerman at the family cabin on Elk Lake and have shaped an identity with the waters of Minnesota. Despite my great memories with Elk Lake, it is not clean for swimming or fishing. I remember not being able to clearly see my hand less than a foot under the water and feeling ill after accidentally swallowing some.
As a little girl I didn’t understand that it was human development that had polluted our waters. My dad explained to me that runoff from large agricultural interests was the reason why our lakes weren’t clean and healthy.
We need food created by farmers, but we also need clean water for our families. But large corporate interest see clean water and creation of food as two opposing goals. It doesn’t have to be this way. We know that farmers who manage the land correctly can create food and protect the water, but large agribusiness works against these types of farming practices, hurting our water and farmers as well.
Congress passed the Clean Water Act decades ago in order to regulate and protect our lakes, rivers and streams from pollution to restore them to be clean and safe enough to fish and swim in. Recently, polluters won decisions by the Supreme Court that have hindered the Clean Water Act’s ability to protect many smaller waterways and wetlands in the U.S.
I want my children, as well as future generations, to be able to enjoy the very lakes that I was able to enjoy as a little girl. In order to protect these waters, I call on The Environmental Protection Agency to act now and restore the Clean Water Act to be able to once again protect all of the waters in our nation. —Nicole Myslajek, Maple Grove