Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted against Clean Water Act protections for streams, lakes, and rivers across the United States. The House majority voted to keep a Dirty Water Rider in the House’s Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which would expose 60 percent of our country’s streams and at least 20 million acres of wetlands to toxic pollution and threaten the drinking water of 117 million Americans. The Dirty Water Rider was introduced by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) in an effort to block the Obama administration from protecting waters of the United States, making it easier for polluters to dump their waste into our waters.
The following is a statement from Earthjustice Senior Legislative Counsel Joan Mulhern:
“We have never seen a House of Representatives so woefully at odds with the wants and needs of the American people whom they represent. Americans want and depend on clean water; they say this overwhelmingly in poll after poll. Americans cherish and rely on their lakes, rivers, and streams, but they are also deeply concerned about so many of our waters that are dangerously polluted and unsafe. It’s critical that we continue to clean up our waterways to protect our communities, but instead, the House majority is using a spending bill to pay favors to their polluter friends, putting 117 million Americans in harm’s way.
“It’s dumbfounding to try to understand why, when Americans want and need clean water, their representatives are voting for dirty water, pollution, contamination, and sickness.
“Americans cannot be clearer about it: They want to fill their glass with water that won’t give them cancer; they want their children to be able to swim in lakes and rivers; they want to be able to fish in America’s waters; and they want to run their businesses in places that don’t sicken their families. Our elected leaders in the House are putting American families and communities in danger just so that they can promote their political careers; this is just plain wrong.
“We need the Senate to stop this Dirty Water Rider and protect the people and waters of this country. We’re relieved to hear that the White House won’t stand for this kind of polluter attack on clean water, and we urge the president to veto any and all legislative attempts to block protections for our nation’s waters and communities.”