Where’s the Environment in Senator Paul’s ‘Defense of Environment and Property Act’?

What part of the environment does Senator Paul (R-KY) believe he is defending with his ‘Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2012’ (S. 2122)?

It’s certainly not clean water.

In the latest iteration of a “dirty water bill” this Congress, Senator Paul’s legislation drastically limits the scope of the Clean Water Act. Ignoring science and even the status quo, the bill leaves the majority of stream miles in the U.S. unprotected – the small streams and wetlands that create our mighty rivers like the Cumberland or the Ohio that flow through the Senator’s own state. 

Senator Paul’s bill is an attack on clean water for people in Kentucky and across the country. S. 2122 would prevent Administrative efforts to restore protections to small streams and wetlands. It forces the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to get specific permission from states before doing anything to control pollution or protect land and water resources – essentially disrupting the careful balance of state and federal responsibility for land and water management.

Science has consistently demonstrated that what we do upstream impacts downstream waters. Filling in headwater streams at mountaintop removal mining sites degrades river health downstream and exacerbates flooding. With more than 117 million Americans relying upon small streams and wetlands as a source for their drinking water, it is critical to protect them. 

Dirty, polluted waters create no value – economic or environmental – for communities. Not many people want to swim in a river polluted by coal ash or fish in a lake contaminated with PCBs.

If your rivers are too polluted for swimming, your lakes are too dirty for fishing, and your drinking water supplies are contaminated – is that good for your property?