Today the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee by a vote of 35–20 approved legislation that would severely limit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to ensure state water quality standards are met under the Clean Water Act. Sponsored by Rep. John Mica (R-FL), H.R. 2018, “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011” is misleading in name, since it would turn back the clock on existing clean water safeguards. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) attempted to protect specific water sources from this legislation and offered a failed amendment that exempted water that are sources of public drinking water, provide flood protection for communities, are a valuable fish and wildlife habitat and are coastal recreational waters. The following statement is from Earthjustice senior legislative counsel Joan Mulhern:
“This is not about the state versus the EPA. This is about clean water versus dirty water, plain and simple.
“This legislation turns back the clock to a time when the Cuyahoga River was on fire, where there were oil spills all across California beaches and the majority of our drinking water was unfit to drink.
“Earthjustice applauds Congressman Bishop for taking action to protect our valuable water sources that provide drinking water, flood control and other important values to people and communities.
“While the majority of the T & I committee voted to reverse decades of progress that was made since the Clean Water Act was passed, we thank those who voted with Congressman Bishop and against this destructive bill.”