CONGRESS needs to hear from you, please say NO to dirty water!
I am getting dozens of emails from our partners in Washington, DC this week about the attacks on clean water, or as the catch phrase goes: those dirty water bills! It’s looking very grim and we need more voices and louder voices. So, here goes:
There is a vicious assault taking place on Capitol Hill and across the states to weaken laws that keep our drinking water and waterways clean. It is important that decision makers know that supporting anti-environmental legislation will turn back the clock to times of dirtier rivers, lakes, streams and coastal areas.
There are so many dirty water bills and riders being introduced on Capitol Hill right now it is hard to keep up. One of most outrageous HR 2018, the so-called Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, is probably the boldest bi-partisan attempt we have seen in years to dismantle the Clean Water Act. This bill takes us back to the times when states made the decisions whether untreated sewage or toxic chemicals could be dumped into rivers and lakes. Sadly this dangerous bill just sailed through through the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee markup this morning by a vote of 35-20 without any public hearings!
Please let your Members of Congress know NOW that a vote for these polluter friendly bills (see our Dirty Water Watch List below) is a vote for Dirty Water. They need to know that being a dirty water Member of Congress is not good for public health or the economy. And very importantly they need to be reminded that voting for Dirty Water Bills is NOT how one gets re-elected. It is as if Capitol Hill has had a collective bout of amnesia about why it is important to have clean air and clean water.
Our national partners in water and river protection have asked us to turn up the volume about the current crop of polluter friendly bills proliferating on the Hill and across the country. Please call your Members of Congress, send in Letters to the Editor, Op-Eds and Blogs to local newspapers and websites!
To get the phone number, email or address for your U.S. Representative and Senators go to the following links and follow the prompts:
You can also call the Capitol Hill Switch board and ask to be connected: 202. 224.3121
Please contact your US Representatives and Senators TODAY and let them know that supporting Dirty Water is bad for public health and for the economy!
Also, please forward this on to friends and other list-serves to get the word out.
Here is an update on some of the many Dirty Water proposals being debated on Capitol Hill:
1) H.R. 2018, The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 would let any state weaken Environmental Protection Agency’s water quality standards. This is bad news if you share a water body with a neighbor–as each of the lower 48 states does.
Specifically this bill limits the federal government’s ability to compel states to effectively implement or make necessary improvements to their water quality standards to deal with modern pollution challenges. Among other things this bill blocks EPA’s ability to stop dredge and fill projects that have unacceptable adverse effects on municipal water supplies, shellfish beds, fishery areas, wildlife or recreational areas.
For more on this dangerous bill please click on links to the following blogs, fact sheets and press releases:
This bill just passed the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee this morning (June 22nd) by a vote of 35-20. Next stop for this bill is a vote on the U.S. House Floor. Every Member of Congress needs to be contacted that this is a terrible bill that will turn back the clock on protecting our nation’s waters! Please emphasize that a vote for HR 2018 is a vote for Dirty Water!
2). Energy and Water Appropriations – Last week the House Appropriations Committee voted in favor of the FY 2012 Energy and Water Spending Bill, 26-20. This appropriations bill included a provision (Section 109) to prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from completing new guidance to help restore lost Clean Water Act protections. Rep. Moran of Virginia offered a compromise amendment that would have allowed the Agency to complete the guidance, but unfortunately the Moran amendment failed, 21 – 27.
You can read the Committee press release here:
The bill will now move to the House for a full member vote on July 6th. Please let your Representatives know that you oppose this spending bill, which would eliminate the administration’s ability to finalize the new clean water guidance and undertake a rule-making, both of which are top Clean Water Network priorities.
3). Pesticides Clean Water Act Exemption Bill (HR 872/S. 718):
Yesterday, in a closed door session, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved by voice vote, legislation to exempt FIFRA-compliant pesticide applications from permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act. Out of the eight committee members who voted, the only ones to oppose the bill were Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), who was not present at the markup, but issued a recorded vote. The bill now goes to the Senate Floor for a vote.
S. 718/HR 872 would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act to exempt discharges of pesticides to waterways from the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. This disastrous bill would eliminate critical tools that keep toxic pesticides from polluting our waterways. Contrary to representations made by proponents of S. 718/HR 872, existing agricultural exemptions in the Clean Water Act will remain. Irrigation return flows and agricultural stormwater runoff will not require NDPES permits, even when they contain pesticides.
For more on this bill and others including blogs and fact sheets click on the following links:
NRDC and San Francisco Baykeeper have also put together this great factsheet on the issue.
So, Please contact your US Representatives and Senators TODAY and let them know that supporting Dirty Water is bad for public health and for the economy!