This Week in Congressional Dirty Water Rampage

By Lynn Thorp, Clean Water Action National Campaigns Director (Follow Lynn on Twitter – @LTCWA) The Congressional rampage against protecting clean water, public health, clean air, wildlife and our national heritage continues this week. First up are funding appropriations for federal agencies, always an opportunity to use the power of the Congressional purse to interfere with ongoing efforts to clean up water pollution and address other important health and environmental issues. This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 (H.R. 2028), which includes the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and more. This funding bill is out of date given climate science and out of step with public opinion. It slashes funding for renewables and efficiency while boosting fossil fuel spending. It also includes “riders” seeking to block real clean water progress. One amendment blocks Corps spending to implement the soon-to-be-finalized Clean Water Rule clarifying protection for drinking water and all of our critical water resources. Another amendment blocks the Corps from implementing Clean Water Act updates that protect water resources from the ravages of mountaintop removal coal mining. We’re asking Representatives in the U.S. House to vote against this bill. See Clean Water’s action alert here. Next, the U.S. House is likely to take up yet another Dirty Water Bill with the cryptic title of “Regulatory Integrity Protection Act.” This is a stand-alone bill to block the same Clean Water Rule that appropriations bill is attempting to stymie. This proposal is based on strong consensus science about how smaller water bodies impact...

House Republicans Vote Against Protecting Your Drinking Water

By Jon Devine, Senior Attorney – Natural Resources Defense Council This post was originally published on the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Blog, Switchboard. Did you drink water today? If so, you’ll want to read this post, because Republicans in the House of Representatives are pushing legislation that threatens our drinking water. Yesterday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a bill that would kill the Clean Water Rule, an initiative by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to reinstate protections for small, seasonal, and rain-dependent streams, as well as wetlands and other waters around the country. Pollution protections for these waterways used to exist, but have been eroded by industry-led litigation and policies the prior administration adopted in the wake of those court cases. (For the gory details about the bill considered yesterday, please check out my earlier post.) As a refresher, if the proposed Clean Water Rule were finalized, it would restore guaranteed protections against pollution and destruction for tributaries, including headwater feeder streams and ones that don’t flow year round. The rule would also safeguard waters near those tributaries and other ones that could be shown to have important downstream impacts. Despite some truly bizarre things that have been said about the rule, it really is modest in scope. It is also based on unassailable science. The Clean Water Rule would protect these waters for many reasons, none more important than the fact that they are critical to millions of Americans’ safe and reliable drinking water supply. Headwater, intermittent, and ephemeral streams, like those the rule would protect, feed into the drinking water supplies of one in three Americans; you...

Americans Agree – #CleanWaterRules

By Jennifer Peters – Clean Water Action National Water Programs Director – Follow Jennifer on Twitter (@EarthAvenger) Nothing is more fundamental than clean water. Though many of us take it for granted until it dries up or becomes too polluted to use. Not only do we all depend on water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning, but water is the major economic driver in every sector in our economy. From farming to manufacturing to tourism, I bet you can’t think of a business that does not depend on clean water to thrive. Clean water is needed by everyone everywhere, all the time. Despite our nation’s dependence on clean water, vital water sources have been at risk of pollution or destruction for more than a decade. This includes many of the streams and wetlands that feed the drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans. For the first thirty years of its existence our nation’s landmark Clean Water Act (CWA), clearly protected nearly every river, lake, bay, wetland or stream in the country. But in the early 2000’s the same polluters who opposed the original CWA were successful in getting the Bush administration to rollback protections for certain streams and wetlands. Clean Water Action and our partner organizations have been fighting to close these dangerous polluter loopholes ever since. This month we are one step closer to finally fixing this huge problem. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently sent a final draft of the Clean Water Rule to the White House Office of Management of Budget (OMB) for review. Over the last several months, EPA staff have read through over...