Updated October News on Dirty Water Bills: The vicious assault on clean water continues on Capitol Hill. This assault involves trying to weaken laws that keep our drinking water and waterways clean. It is especially important that decision makers know, while they are home campaigning over the congressional recess, that supporting anti-environmental legislation will turn back the clock to times of dirtier rivers, lakes, streams and coastal areas.This month, Clean Water Network joined colleagues in signing a letter addressed to U.S. Senators stressing the importance of NOT supporting HR. 3558, another in a long string of dirty water bills being peddled on Capitol Hill. HR 3558, deceptively titled the, Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act, is another blatant assault on the Clean Water Act. For more on this bill and the letter that was sent on October 4th, 2012 please click HERE.
Last month, the U.S. House passed H.R. 3409, the so-called Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012, by a vote of 233-175. The bill purports to address coal, but in fact takes aim at a staggering array of basic laws that keep the American public safe. This dangerous bill, which should be renamed, the War on World bill, fundamentally weakens the Clean Air Act and eviscerates the protections of the Clean Water Act. H.R. 3409 repackages many of the same attacks on health and environmental safeguards attempted earlier this Congress. For a copy of the legislation click on the link at the bottom of the summary that follows. Fact Sheets also are available through links below. The Administration's Statement (SAP) opposing HR 3409 can also be found in a link at the bottom of the page. Also included below is a link to a fact sheet from the Sierra Club with a list of amendments being introduced to HR 3409 noting which ones their group is supporting or opposing. For a copy of CWN's alert on the bill and subsequent vote in the House click on the following url:
This sweeping disastrous piece of legislation includes:
DIRTY WATER AND DEVASTATED COMMUNITIES: Title I would prevent the
Department of the Interior from protecting natural resources from the ravages of strip mining, if any such regulation would prevent even a single lump of coal from being mined. This title also prohibits the Department from fulfilling its obligation under SMCRA to designate certain lands unsuitable for mining, such as Indian burial sites and land bordering national parks.
As a result, this title would allow mining companies to proceed unfettered as they poison and destroy rivers and ecosystems, threatening the communities that depend on them, and shielding even the most egregious mountaintop removal mining operations from new public safeguards under the surface mining law.
DIRTY AIR: Title II, or H.R. 910, would give the biggest polluters a free pass for unlimited carbon pollution by repealing EPA’s science-based endangerment determination and simply declaring that carbon dioxide is no longer an air pollutant. This title would also cost consumers at the pump by eliminating final EPA clean car standards. EPA has documented how carbon pollution and other climate-changing pollutants are bringing Americans death, illness, and injury in many ways: by causing more killer heat waves,more intense smog, the spread of infectious diseases, and stronger storms, floods, andhurricanes. Blocking EPA from reducing carbon pollution would mean more lives lost and more illness and injury.
DIRTY AIR: Title III, or TRAIN Act (H.R. 2401), blocks and stalls significant clean air
protections, allowing their permanent delay. It would repeal critical clean air safeguards against deadly soot and smog pollution. The bill forces EPA to delay by at least six to seven years the implementation of smog, soot, and toxic air pollution replacement standards. Recognizing that compliance is delayed at least six to seven years, blocking these standards for just one additional year would result in up to 19,300 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks, 130,000 asthma attacks, and 5,700 more hospital and emergency room visits. The bill would also repeal health safeguards
protecting the public from out-of-state air pollution and weaken legal authorities for reducing that pollution in the future.
DIRTY WATER: Title IV aims to maintain the dangerous status quo that led to the Kingston,TN coal ash disaster in 2008. It won’t protect American communities from the leaching of toxic pollution from coal ash dumping or guarantee the safety of coal ash impoundment dams. It shields utilities from their responsibility to upgrade unsafe ash dumps, clean up contaminated sites, or close leaking and unstable ponds. It lacks deadlines for states to implement whatever permit program they may create, even though there are over 1000 aging coal ash dumps, many of which lack adequate safeguards to prevent water contamination. In lieu of a federal rule with standards based on science, it creates a loophole-ridden system cooked up by utility lobbyists more concerned with their client’s liability than the health of the communities around their sites.
DIRTY WATER: Title V, or H.R. 2018, would reverse decades of progress in cleaning our nation’s waters. It undermines the cooperative state-federal partnership at the core of the Clean Water Act. Under this title, EPA would be stripped of its important authority to ensurethat water quality standards are enforced and reflect the latest science. The title alsoundermines protections of critical aquatic resources from discharges of dredged and fillmaterial; it would gut EPA’s ability to “veto” the most destructive and healththreatening proposals—even though EPA has used this authority sparingly (only 13 times in the past 40 years). It could unleash the “race to the bottom” that the 1972 Clean Water Act wasdesigned to stop.
A number of groups sent a letter to Members of Congress urging Representatives to oppose this suite of nasty dirty water bills. Click HERE
for a copy of the letter.
Impaired Waters (TMDL)