Debunking the Rhetoric

By Joe Emmons, National Program Intern

Over the last couple weeks Clean Water Action and our allies have been fighting tooth and nail in the Senate against a massive affront to the Clean Water Act, the Barrasso-Heller Amendment.  This Amendment would permanently cut all funding from The Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) and the EPA to classify levels of protection for water sources.   Luckily, with your help, we have had a great deal of impact on this Amendment.  Voting has been pushed back, allowing us more time to rally support for clean streams, wetlands, and drinking water for all Americans.

As usual we are hearing quite a bit of rhetoric about “job killing” and “land grabbing” from our opposition.  This is nothing new, but it does mislead people into anger and discontent. We’ve had enough and we have decided to return fire, with truth.

Our opponents would like you to think this amendment will cause unnecessary regulatory burdens, will hinder economic growth, and will drastically expand the scope of the Clean Water Act.  The truth is this amendment will complicate the process to obtain building permits and overwhelm our judicial system with complicated requests.  Time and again the Courts have supported the ACE and EPA’s authority to issue guidance to handle these concerns, keeping applications that would result in positive economic growth from being stuffed into miscellaneous drawers and files due to overly complicated and muddled standards.

Currently half of America’s streams and 20 million acres of wetlands do not qualify for the protections promised to them all the way back in 1972 when the Clean Water Act was passed.  The original intention was to provide protection for all of America’s water.  When this amendment is defeated it will not increase the scope of the Clean Water Act.  It will simply allow government agencies who have been trusted, by the people and the courts, to continue to make the same decisions they have been making for over 30 years.  It will allow these agencies to continue to take opinions from the American people and put these words into action through real world protections for waterways across our great nation.  If this Amendment is passed our water quality will decrease, there’s no two ways about it.  It does no good to have a speed limit if you don’t have the police officer to enforce it.

To a certain extent I can understand a level of confusion on the exact ramifications of issues such as amendments to appropriations bills, it is often difficult to understand and even more so to explain.   However, our opponents are going beyond a possible confusion of details and over the line into pure untruths.  Again, this is not new, but the American people deserve to be properly informed on all issues, especially concerning a liquid that every single American ingests on a daily basis.  This is why Clean Water Action is here; for you, for your children, for our water, for America.

Posted on November 18, 2011  | Filed Under Protecting America's Waters | Comments Off

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