Why is the Potomac, “the Nation’s River,” on the list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers?

Here’s the American Rivers list:

1. Potomac River
Pollution and Clean Water Act rollbacks have national implications.
2. Green River
Water withdrawals could threaten a water-strapped region.
3. Chattahoochee River
New dams and reservoirs threaten to dry up the river flow.
4. Missouri River
Outdated flood management putting public safety at risk.
5. Hoback River
Natural gas development putting clean water, world-class fishing and wildlife in danger.
6. Grand River
Natural gas development threaten clean water and public health.
7. Skykomish River
New dam endangering wildlife habitat and recreation.
8. Crystal River
Dams and water diversions putting fish, wildlife, and recreation at risk.
9. Coal River
Mountaintop removal coal mining endangering clean water and public health.
10. Kansas River
Sand and gravel dredging could cause severe harm to clean water, wildlife.

American Rivers, a Washington, D.C.-based organization working to protect and restore the country’s rivers and streams, has just released its 27th annual list of the 10 most endangered waterways in America. Topping the list this year is the Potomac, which runs straight through the nation’s capital. That’s fitting, given that American Rivers is using its list as part of its effort to spur Congress to take action. “This year’s Most Endangered Rivers list underscores how important clean water is to our drinking water, health, and economy,” said Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, in a press release. “If Congress slashes clean water protections, more Americans will get sick and communities and businesses will suffer. We simply cannot afford to go back to a time when the Potomac and rivers nationwide were too polluted and dangerous to use.”