Congress Challenges Longstanding Clean Water Act


By Krystina Steffen, staff In Good Practice writer – July 21, 2011

Rein in the Environmental Protection Agency or turn back the clock 40 years? The House of Representatives passed H.R.2018, the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, on July 13. [1] The bill lets states decide water quality actions and strips federal efforts in enforcing the Clean Water Act, including the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency EPA.

The Clean Water Act, formally known as The Federal Water Pollution Control Act and an important piece of environmental legislation that has guided the country since 1972, would essentially be dismantled on a national level. Each state would be left in charge of water quality actions and enforcement, which undoubtedly is raising a lot of eyebrows.

The House of Representatives pushed the bill as a way to increase jobs, without the so-called hassle of Washington politics, waiting for permits, and having to conduct countless studies to get local and regional economies kick-started. The aye’s had it in the house where “…business-friendly Republicans and Democratic moderates who think federal laws embodied in the Clean Water Act of 1972 are too restrictive.” [2]

It is important to take a look at who is for and against having individual states be the beacon of water quality and environmental progress. [3]

Specific Organizations Supporting H.R.2018

National Mining Association

The Association of Leaders in Equipment Distribution

West Virginia Coal Association

Associated General Contractors of America

National Association of Home Builders

National Corn Growers Association

National Association of Manufacturers

USA Rice Federation

American Sugarbeet Growers Association

Edison Electric Institute

CropLife America

United Egg Producers

National Pork Producers Council

American Rental Association

Agricultural Retailers Association

Portland Cement Association

National Milk Producers Federation

American Farm Bureau Federation

Associated Equipment Distributors

National Precast Concrete Association

Georgia Mining Association

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association

The Fertilizer Institute

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association

Public Lands Council

Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association

Association of Equipment Manufacturers

National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association

American Road & Transportation Builders Association

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

National Water Resources Association

Faces of Coal

Alabama Cattlemen’s Association

American Concrete Pavement Association

Chemical Producers & Distributors Association

Illinois Coal Association

Industrial Minerals Association – North America

Iowa Limestone Producers Association

Kentucky Coal Association

National Asphalt Pavement Association

NUCA Representing Utility and Excavation Contractors

Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment

U.S. Cattlemen’s Association

Specific Organizations Opposing H.R.2018

National Wildlife Federation

Sierra Club

League of Conservation Voters

American Rivers

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Trout Unlimited

Environment America

Clean Water Action

Izaak Walton League of America

Southern Environmental Law Center

Natural Resources Defense Council

Clean Water Network

Earth Justice

Center for Justice

The House of Representative’s votes show that the country’s needs for safe drinking water, swimming and recreation, and the biological integrity of its water systems should be left in the hands of big agriculture, mining and coal companies, and major manufacturing corporations. All of this is eerily reminiscent of the seminal book “Toxic Sludge is Good for You”, wherein large corporations and their public relations departments are shown to manipulate consumers and politics with money, “expensive neckties, and for-hire mouthpieces.”

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