Clearwater Weighs Anchor Again for Clean Water

Pete Seeger’s 1970 trip is reimagined, his ship embarking to D.C. with a message to Congress.

More than 45 years after its inaugural voyage helped pass the Clean Water Act, the Sloop Clearwater has again set sail for our nation’s capital, laden with a “cargo of concern.”

The sloop embarked in the middle of last weekend’s Clearwater Festival in Croton-on-Hudson with petitions, municipal resolutions, and testimonials to deliver to Congressional representatives. The aim is to stand up for strong federal clean-water protections and protest regulatory rollbacks and potential Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget cuts.

“Clearwater was founded under the guiding principles that clean water and healthy watersheds are essential to the health and well-being of America,” the Clearwater organization states. “We are sending a clear message to Washington that we will not stand for any threats to the environmental protections that have become part of our core American values.”

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The sloop is expected to arrive in D.C. late June. Clearwater and other partner organizations will conduct dockside events, as well as hold a forum June 29 about clean water issues on Capitol Hill for members of Congress. According to the Clearwater organization, among the speakers will be scientists and government and environmental leaders, including US Representative Sean Patrick Maloney; Mustafa Ali, former chief environmental justice official at EPA; filmmaker John Bowermaster; John Cronin, the first Hudson Riverkeeper; Betsy Garthwaite, chair of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater’s board; Aaron Mair, president of the Sierra Club; Emma Rosi-Marshall, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and others.

Clearwater says this voyage to Washington and Capitol Hill forum is a re-enactment of its 1970 trip, when Pete Seeger sailed the boat to Washington, D.C., and held a forum on Capitol Hill on clean-water issues, which was credited with being a turning point in the fight for the 1972 Clean Water Act. The progress that has been made since then in protecting America’s water resources is threatened, and Clearwater is reprising its historic role to defend it. 

As Pete Seeger said of the 1970 Clearwater sail to D.C., “We’re going to Washington because the problems of the American rivers can’t be solved by people like me who live on them. Only the federal government has the power to enact and enforce the laws that are needed.”

You can take a look at the schedule of the sail to D.C., and the rest of the Clearwater’s sailing season, here:

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