The “Dirty Water Act”: Allowing Unsafe Drinking Water

The news just keeps getting worse for Americans these days when it comes to their drinking water.

Earlier this week we received the news that the new federal budget proposes to handcuff the EPA Clean Water effort by reducing its budget by 27%. Today, we learn that the House will vote on anti-clean water measures that would gut the Clean Water Act. Every citizen should be aware of what is going on so that they can make their own decision about the future of their drinking water.

John Devine writes for the National Resource Defense Council Staff blog. He provides us with an article today about a bill in front of the House that could have a negative impact on the water that we drink for a long time. According to Mr. Devine:

“Although the Newt Gingrich-led Congress in the mid-90s tried in vain to pass the “Dirty Water Act” gutting the Clean Water Act notwithstanding broad public support for that law and the resources it protects, the House this week will vote on a suite of anti-clean water measures that would make Mr. Gingrich blush.”

You can read Devine’s article here:

Devine shares with us: “Many of these anti-environmental earmarks have nothing to do with fiscal discipline or budgeting, but instead are sneak attacks on fundamental protections against polluting our water. Together they paint a bleak picture of what the world would look like if the new Republican leadership in the House could have its way.”

The article outlines sections of the bill that would have harmful effects on America’s drinking water: *

* Section 1747 of the bill would halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s ongoing work to clarify which waters remain protected by the Clean Water Act in the wake of confusing court decisions. EPA estimates that roughly 117 million Americans get at least some drinking water from systems that rely on headwater and other critical streams for all or part of their supply. Many of those streams are at risk of being denied Clean Water Act protections today.

* Amendment #216 (submitted by Rep. David McKinley, R-WV) would effectively strip EPA of the authority Congress gave it under the Clean Water Act to prohibit or restrict certain discharges that would have an “unacceptable adverse effect” on our water, fish or wildlife. EPA has used this authority sparingly – only 13 times since the law was enacted in 1972. In other words, it is reserved for truly bad projects where the discharger can’t or won’t curtail the impacts to water resources.

* Amendment #230 (submitted by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-VA) would sabotage decades of work by state and federal officials and by concerned citizens, which culminated when EPA released a comprehensive cleanup plan for the Chesapeake Bay watershed in December. The amendment would prohibit EPA from enforcing this plan if states fail to meet their pollution control commitments.

We are all aware of the fact that China has ignored the environmental catastrophes being committed in the name of economic growth. Let’s not let that happen in America.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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