Dirty Politics, Dirty Water: House Trashes Clean Water Act to Help Pad Polluter Profits

House passes HR 2018, the Dirty Water Act, in an unprecedented assault on clean water protections

07-13-2011 // Mekell Mikell, Ph.D.
Puget Sound

The Clean Water Act is under unprecedented assault during this Congress, and today the House of Representatives launched the biggest and most outrageous attack yet. Lawmakers passed H.R. 2018, the “Dirty Water Act,” which undermines Clean Water Act safeguards and the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to do its job and keep our waters clean and healthy.

“Passage of the Dirty Water Act in the House today signals an appalling reversal from nearly four decades of bi-partisan clean water protections, taking us back to a time when rivers caught fire because of rampant pollution,” said Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Make no mistake: this bill would take the environmental cop off the beat and put at risk drinking water for millions of people, the habitat for scores of wildlife, and the jobs and economic growth that depends on a safer, cleaner environment.”

The Dirty Water Act leaves downstream states unprotected from the pollution of their upstream neighbors. And it puts scientific decisions made by the Environmental Protection Agency in the hands of state level politicians and bureaucrats.

Under H.R. 2018, when EPA scientists identify new water pollution threats they will no longer be able to stop them unless states agree. Even worse, when the EPA finds that a mining, development or civil works construction project recklessly threatens public health and safety, destroys water resources or wastes taxpayer dollars, it will be powerless to act.

“We are alarmed by this parade of pro-polluter bills marching through the House. Given unprecedented budget cuts and other Clean Water rollbacks passed by lawmakers, there is an insidious agenda to take the government out of the business of protecting the environment for the well being of our children and families,” said Schweiger. “We applaud the Administration for signaling its strong opposition to the Dirty Water Act and commend the 184 members of the House for voting against it – more than enough to sustain a veto in the event it is warranted.”

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