What Part of “All” Don’t They Understand?

By Lynn Thorp, National Programs Coordinator

Nine years ago this month, the Bush Administration signaled that it would pursue policies to remove Clean Water Act protection from many water bodies. Thus began a campaign  that’s been a priority for Clean Water Action ever since. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finally poised to start fixing this problem, four powerful Congressional Republicans are today signaling their opposition.

Senator s Inhofe (R-OK) and Sessions (R-AL) and Representatives Mica (R-FL) and Gibbs (R-OH) have one thing right. Formal rulemaking is a better solution than Guidance” when it comes to helping EPA and Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) permitters in the field know which polluting activities require permits for which bodies of water. We supported the EPA/ACE proposed “Guidance”  this spring but we’ve been clear that after finalizing this Guidance, they should move on to formal rulemaking.

But we couldn’t agree less with the Senators and Representatives on the substance of this policy issue. The proposal to clarify which bodies of water are covered by the Clean Water does not “…vastly expand the types of lands and waters subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.” In fact, the Guidance and rulemaking can only get us partially back to where we were in 2001, before the last Administration took advantage of confusing Supreme Court decisions to leave the drinking water for over 117 million people and other water resources without much needed protection.

We think the American people agree with the intent of Congress when the Clean Water Act passed in 1972 – protecting ALL of our water bodies.

Posted on November 3, 2011  | Filed Under Protecting America's Waters | Comments Off

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