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Another Republican Attempt To Gut the Clean Water Act

Another Republican Attempt To Gut the Clean Water Act

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a bill on June 22, 2011 which would gut the Clean Water Act. The bill, H.R. 2018, the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 would “amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to preserve the authority of each State to make determinations relating to the State’s water quality standards, and for other purposes.”

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) lists what the bill would do:

  • Limit the EPA’s ability to effectively implement or make necessary improvements to state water quality standards to deal with modern pollution challenges
  • Prevent the EPA from improving numeric criteria for pollutants that have led to dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico
  • Restrict the EPA from upgrading standards for toxic pollutants where narrative standards only provide very limited protection, with the example of state standards that prohibit the “discharge of toxic pollutants in toxic amounts”
  • Prevent the EPA from vetoing state-issued Clean Water Act permits even if the EPA concludes those permits are not protective of water quality.
  • Block the EPA’s ability to withhold federal funding to states even if the EPA determines the state’s implementation of water quality standards is not protective of water quality

The EPA’s Technical Assessment of the bill says it “would overturn almost 40 years of federal legislation by preventing EPA from protecting public health and water quality”

“This bill is a recipe for increased pollution, dirtier waters and more mountaintop removal mining,” said Jon Devine, senior attorney in the water program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Its supporters seem intent on taking us back to the ‘good old days’ when rivers like the Cuyahoga caught fire and Lake Erie was declared dead. We will continue to fight it vigorously if it comes to the House floor.”

John H. Adams of NRDC states in a blog post that “the bill would allow states eager to attract or appease big polluters to effectively veto improvements in the water quality standards we’ve worked for decades to put into place.” Adams also states that the bill would give governors “a green light to local polluters and influential donors that want to dump dangerous levels of coal waste, industrial chemicals, municipal sewage and agricultural runoff into waters we share as a nation.”

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User:will ockenden

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51 comments

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1:53PM PDT on Oct 19, 2012

Its said that many Americans would prefer cheaper gasoline then protecting clean drinking water. I'm not sure what they think they will do when gasoline is $1 a gallon but clean drinking water is $5 a gallon???

5:31PM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

I'm SO tired of fighting for what's right.

5:29PM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

As I read one abomination after another, and all by repubs, I'm just so sad for the American people. Evidently, we are so uneducated, and against those who are, that a large portion of citizens will vote against their own best interests. HOW does a repub explain voting to take away regulations on CLEAN WATER for god's sake, and convince the stupids to vote for him anyway?! And whatever they pass, affects ALL of us, not just the stupids.

2:48AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

This is a very sad story. Other animals has to go only because "we" humans do not want to share the world with other life forms, these life forms "we" would not eat (vegetarian food is not a bad idea, or eating with conscience as the so called primitive cultures did and still do, if they still exist. No meat/fish every day). "We" destroy averything around us and "we" forget, that everything is important to survive, too.

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

3:22AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Maybe we should try switching to excise taxes instead of non-tariff regulatory burden as much as possible. For what the EPA is supposed to regulate, minimizing the amount of various pollutants that we can't just outlaw completely is the object. For that a well-targeted excise tax works better than non-tariff regulation. We already did the cost/benefit analysis in trying to justify the EPA's budget. It should be simple to translate the external costs imposed by corporations in that cost/benefit analysis into tax rates. Since the object is to minimize pollution, I would even be willing to count expenditures in a good faith effort to control emissions either by capturing and disposing of them safely or by switching to some other process or product that generates less emissions.

7:23AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Delia L.
The problem with your idea of getting the federal govenrment is whe I live down streem form you and you dont care what you are dumping in the water thus making my water undrinkable! some people need to wake up and see what they are creating! I chalange you to go look at your local streem or creek the smaller the better and look at what you are washing down streem? look at is as it travils slow and see the sheen of oil and chemicals that cause the rainbow effect! look at the plastic bottles and bags caught in trees. Look for a frog or tad pole! bet you dont find any! there used to be 1000's of them when I was a kid not any more. then wade in the water and watch the black scum that raises to the surface! and if you live up streem for me I wont be able to drink and just Imagine what local government up streem from you will allow to get buisness away from your town to theirs! Please wake up!

6:06AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Cutting spending on so called entitlements is near worthless for addressing the deficit. Those that advocate this, also advocate that the wealthy and fictional entity corporations not pay taxes. The only justification is the creation of jobs. But where?

Corporations have over-powered our government which now believes that out-sourcing and off-shoring is inevitable and necessary with expectations that the middle class should just fall on their swords.

The underlying cause of the financial collapse, is from out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs and borders on national security with the loss of our middle class tax base. And yet, this nation does nothing, not even protest against out-sourcing and off-shoring and demand it be restricted by whatever method. International businesses are doing the un-American activity of destroying U.S. salaries, U.S. businesses that hire within this country, and destroying the U.S. marketplace as an end result.

Infrastructure spending and tax breaks will not create enough jobs to keep up with out-sourcing and off-shoring.

Cutting programs that support the lower and middle class will further strain the non-wealthy classes who will not even receive the benefit of lower prices as a result.

Neither party will do anything about it and unless we begin grass roots efforts to protest out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs we will deserve what we get.

If nothing is done, it will get a lot worse before it gets better.

11:14PM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

Dianne D. very good but you forgot they want to get rid of unions and use child labor to line the pockets of the rich so the rich can give them bigger bribes

6:40PM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

Don't REPugs drink water?

12:57PM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

There are so many problems in this world,and it seems 2 get worse all the time.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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