Federal Legislation Threatens Clean Water Act

Aug 15, 2011

While the nation’s attention was rapt by the debt ceiling showdown, the Congress was busy behind the scenes using the Appropriations process out of public view to eviscerate the Clean Water Act. In another instance of holding federal budgets hostage, Republicans have been quietly passing huge policy changes through amendments to must-pass spending bills.

Two sets of “riders” have already passed the House and are awaiting Senate action. The third set of riders are attached to the annual funding bills for the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior. Then they will join the first two appropriations bills to await a vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee. There, the fate of these dirty water bills may depend on the leadership of Senator Dianne Feinstein a powerful member of Senate Appropriations. We’ll rely on you to help us kill the riders that would undo protections for salmon, block the restoration of the San Joaquin River, and undermine EPA’s authority.

We also wanted to update you on H.R. 2018, H.R. 872 and S. 718, additional federal bills we've been following. H.R. 2018, a bill that would all but eliminate the long-standing authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to oversee state implementation of the Clean Water Act, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 239-184. This bill will be assigned to a Senate Committee shortly after Labor Day, and the Administration has already threatened a veto of this disastrous bill.

Unfortunately, H.R. 872 also passed the House, and would altogether remove pesticides from regulation under the Clean Water Act. This legislative assault is an attempt by the agricultural industry to undo a key Baykeeper victory in federal court, which forced EPA to regulate pesticides as required by federal law. The companion bill, S. 718, is now on the Senate side, being blocked by Senator Barbara Boxer in committee.

Baykeeper will continue to monitor the progress of these bills as they move through the Senate. We urge you to like us on Facebook so you can follow these developments.

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