2011-06-24 "Another Republican Attempt To Gut the Clean Water Act" by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
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 [http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/sfleischli/another_clean_water_act_rollba.html]:
* 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 [http://rss.nrdcfeeds.org/~r/switchboard_all/~3/MS7hdayWcgI/dont_water_down_the_clean_wate.html] 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."