Obama Promises Veto of Toxic-and-Dirty Water Bill
Yesterday evening, July 13, the full House of Representatives passed the Toxic-and-Dirty Water Bill that I warned about a couple weeks ago — HR 2018, along with a number of amendments. The House passed this legislation 239-184, despite a vow from the White House promising a veto if the bill makes it through the Senate. This…
Yesterday evening, July 13, the full House of Representatives passed the Toxic-and-Dirty Water Bill that I warned about a couple weeks ago — HR 2018, along with a number of amendments.
The House passed this legislation 239-184, despite a vow from the White House promising a veto if the bill makes it through the Senate.
This legislation is the most offensive in a fresh spate of clean water attacks waged by the majority of the 112th House. The bill undoes the basis of the Clean Water Act, the 40-year-old cornerstone of all drinkable, swimmable and fishable waters in this country. Without this landmark law, and the system it set up for federal oversight of waters across all states, we wouldn’t have the clean waters that we have today.
HR 2018 removes federal oversight and leaves the fate of our waters, which flow between states and know no state boundaries, up to states. Often, states disagree on the importance of clean water. While some states act to keep their waters clean for tourism, economic gain and the health of their people, other states put polluting industries first and allow waters to be dumped in and contaminated at their people’s expense. Citizens of states downstream of those industry-beholden states are the one who suffer.
Many representatives from states that prize clean water cried out against this bill, practically begging their colleagues to oppose it for the sake of the health of their constituents.
“Massachusetts spent billions of our own state dollars to clean up our harbor and drinking water sources, If you want to kill your citizens…that’s fine,” said Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) when the bill was being debated in commitee. “We don’t.”
“Don’t do it to us,” he pleaded. “Don’t make it so that Massachusetts or other states who wish to have clean water, who have spent our taxpayer money to have clean water, who have built our states and economies around that clean water — don’t make it so that we have to suffer.”
Many other representatives lined up to oppose this bill and spoke out in support of clean water across America. They include representatives Jared Polis of Colorado, Tim Bishop of New York, Peter Defazio and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Jim Moran and Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, and Russ Carnahan of Missouri.
In the final vote, 16 Democrats defected from their colleagues and voted against clean water, most notably Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), who co-sponsored the bill. See who the culprits are and hold them accountable. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and leave messages expressing your disapproval of their votes.
Meanwhile, 13 Republicans split with their party and voted in favor of clean water in the U.S. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and connect with their offices to thank them for having the courage to do the right thing, despite their party’s leadership.
Liz Judge worked at Earthjustice from 2010–2016. During that time, she worked on mountaintop removal mining, national forests, and clean water issues, and led the media and advocacy communications teams.
Established in 1989, Earthjustice's Policy & Legislation team works with champions in Congress to craft legislation that supports and extends our legal gains.
Earthjustice’s Washington, D.C., office works at the federal level to prevent air and water pollution, combat climate change, and protect natural areas. We also work with communities in the Mid-Atlantic region and elsewhere to address severe local environmental health problems, including exposures to dangerous air contaminants in toxic hot spots, sewage backups and overflows, chemical disasters, and contamination of drinking water. The D.C. office has been in operation since 1978.