- A new bill, passed by the House of Representatives and awaiting vote in the Senate, aims to strip the EPA of its authority over individual states' water quality. Pictured: The Cuyahoga River on fire in 1952. When it happened again in 1969 it helped kick start the modern environmental movement including the establishment of the Clean Water Act and the founding of the EPA.
Courtesy of: EarthTalk®
E — The Environmental Magazine
Dear EarthTalk: The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to strip the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its authority over state water quality. Why did they do this, what are the ramifications and what do leading green groups have to say about it? — Joseph Emory, York, PA
The legislation in question, the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 (H.R. 2018), passed the House of Representatives this past July with strong support from Republicans and will likely be voted on by the Senate in the Fall. It aims to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (also known as the Clean Water Act (CWA) in order to give authority over water quality standards back to the states.
The bill’s backers—including most House Republicans and lobbyists for the mountaintop coal mining industry and factory animal farms—claim it will bring jobs to Appalachia and other distressed regions of the country where they say economic growth has been crippled by stringent environmental regulations. The bill would prevent the EPA from overruling decisions made by state regulatory agencies.