Dirty Water in the Farm Bill
Right on the heels of the latest attacks on the Clean Water Act, the Senate is now preparing to take up the Farm Bill (S. 3240). This year’s bill includes multiple dirty water amendments that seek to prevent the Administration from moving forward on various clean water policies or to roll back and undermine the Clean Water Act itself.
Blocking Administration Efforts to Protect Clean Water:
- Similar to the dirty water provision in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act in the House (H.R. 5325), Senator Barrasso (R-WY) introduced an amendment to prevent the Administration from restoring protections to small streams and wetlands, ensuring that these waters – a critical source of drinking water for 117 million Americans – continue to be vulnerable to pollution.
- Senator Inhofe (R-OK) introduced an amendment to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from moving forward to update its stormwater programs to better manage runoff, which can pollute our water with pathogens, excess nutrients, heavy metals and other contaminants that put people’s health at risk.
Weakening the Clean Water Act:
- Senator Paul (R-KY) introduced an amendment which would significantly narrow the scope of the Clean Water Act, ignoring science and even existing policy to severely limit waters protected under the law.
- Another amendment, introduced by Senator Johanns (R-NE), would exempt dischargers of pesticides directly into waterways from meeting minimum safety standards as required under the Clean Water Act. Already, more than 1,000 waterways are polluted by pesticides. Exempting these discharges weakens the law and puts clean water at risk.
- Senator Rubio (R-FL) offered an amendment to remove nutrient limits for the discharge of manure, fertilizer, and sewage that pollute Florida’s waters with excess nutrients and cause toxic algae to grow.