As the Weather Heats Up, So Do Attacks on Clean Water in Congress
As the temperature starts to climb here in Washington, many of us might start thinking about summer vacations to the beach, a day spent floating our local river, or a weekend trip to a lake.
The bad news is that attacks in Congress on clean water are starting to heat up as well.
This week, corporate lobbyists for building construction and factory farm interests are putting pressure on Members of Congress to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts to restore long-standing protections under the Clean Water Act.
Despite thirty years of comprehensive protections under the Clean Water Act, two Supreme Court decisions and the resulting Administrative guidance leaves small streams and wetlands vulnerable to polluters. These are the waters that contribute to our drinking water supplies, filter out pollutants, and help to protect us from flooding.
The EPA and the Army Corps proposed a Clean Water Rule that is currently open for public comment to clarify what waters are – and are not – protected under the Clean Water Act. This is an important step forward to restoring historical levels of protection.
The agencies are taking comments through October 21, 2014 and everyone has a chance to tell them what they think of the rule, to make suggestions, or even tell them not to finalize it. But polluters and their allies on Capitol Hill aren’t satisfied with a public process that lets everyone’s voice be heard. They’re working overtime to shut it down. They’re not only trying to stop the rule from going forward, they’re trying to prevent the agencies from even hearing your comments.
Polluters are the only ones that benefit under the status quo of uncertainty and declining enforcement. The New York Times reports that over a four-year period, more than 1,500 major pollution investigations of companies that spilled oil, carcinogens, and bacteria into rivers, lakes, and streams weren’t being prosecuted.
If you’ve ever paddled a river, gone swimming in a lake, or enjoyed a clean glass of water – this proposed Clean Water Rule impacts you.
Don’t let the polluters be the only voice that’s heard. Stand strong for clean water. Let your Congressional representatives know how important clean water is to you. Next week, the House of Representatives are likely to take a vote on appropriations legislation which contains a provision that would effectively kill the proposed Clean Water Rule and block the public comment process.
We’ve got a tough fight ahead against big corporate lobbyists and industry polluters who all stand to benefit from blocking this proposed Clean Water Rule. We need your help to ask your representatives to oppose these efforts.