U.S. House bill would ‘turn back the clock’ on clean water regs, says law firm

The “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011” sponsored by Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today in a 35-20 vote. Environmental law firm Earthjustice argues that the bill is misleading in name, and would do little more than “turn back the clock on existing clean water safeguards.”

Other environmental groups have dubbed Mica’s measure a “dirty water bill,” and argue that it would essentially rewrite the Clean Water Act — removing the EPA’s authority to object to state-approved permits and revise state water quality standards.

“This is not about the state versus the EPA. This is about clean water versus dirty water, plain and simple,” says Earthjustice senior legislative counsel Joan Mulhern, in a press release.

Among those to vote against the bill was Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., who offered a failed amendment that would have exempted water that are sources of public drinking water and provided flood protection for communities.

“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,” said Mulhern. “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.”

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