Water Quality
July 06 2015

Celebrate Clean Water!  Ask Congress to do the Same!

by Mara Dias

In May we celebrated a victory for clean water when the Environmental Protection Agency finalized its Clean Water Rule.  Unfortunately, members of both the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives continue to support polluting industries over your right to clean water and have proposed legislation to repeal the Clean Water Rule.  This would leave 20 million acres of wetlands, two million miles of streams, and the drinking water for 117 million Americans at risk of pollution and destruction.

Clean water is important, and Surfrider is asking Congress to what they can to protect clean water, rather than continuing to look for options to defeat the Clean Water Rule and the EPA's efforts to implement it.

The House of Representatives has already passed the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (HR 1732) which, if it goes into effect, would force the EPA to withdraw the Clean Water Rule and start their rulemaking process all over again.  The Senate is currently considering the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S. 1140) which proposes to do the same. 

Opponents of the Clean Water Rule are also using the appropriations process to nullify the rule, by attaching ammendments, or 'dirty water riders', to federal spending bills that would deprive the EPA from using any of their annual budget to implement the new rule.  There has already been a good show of support in both chambers for using these policy riders.  Congress also has the power for a short window of time, likely until the end of summer, to reject the Clean Water Rule through the Congressional Review Act.  Fortunately, all of these avenues are subject to a Presidential Veto, so it is important for us to let both Congress and the Administration know that we support Clean Water.

Unfortunately, it is not just Congress but States and Corporations that are challenging the Clean Water Rule by filing lawsuits stating that the rule is unconstituational and violates the Clean Water Act.  More here :  thehill.com  & WBOY.com.

Most of the opposition to the Clean Water Rule is coming from pressure being exerted by polluting industries such as oil, gas and coal companies, developers and corporate agribusiness.  Unfortunately they have made good headway in mis-representing the Clean Water Rule as being government over-reach, a land-grab, and harmful to farmers.  The truth is that the EPA is just trying to clarify waters that are protected under the Clean Water Act, and restoring the law's authority to what it once was before the Supreme Court made jurisdiction unclear in two bad rulings in 2001 and 2006.  The EPA has released this fact sheet to explain that regulation of agricultural activities will not be affected by this new rule. 

Join Surfrider in telling Congress that clean water is important to you and your family.  Send an email to your representatives in Washington, DC and ask them to oppose any legislation that would prevent the EPA from doing its job to protect clean water.  You can Take Action now!

Learn more about why the Clean Water Rule is needed in this previous blog post.