The U.S. House of Representatives on June 1, 2012, 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 exposes 60 percent of our country’s streams, and at least 20 million acres of wetlands, to toxic pollution. Their actions also 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 with impunity and without controls by federal, state, or local governments looking out for the well-being of their citizens.
The House of Representatives seems to be diametrically opposed to the wants, needs, and wishes of the American people whom they theoretically represent. Americans need clean water, and they depend on it. They overwhelmingly say so in poll after poll. Americans cherish and rely on their lakes, rivers, and streams, for recreational uses, food supply, and sustainable drinking water. But they are also deeply concerned about so many of our waters that are dangerously polluted and unsafe.
It’s critical that we clean up our waterways and maintain their purity in order to protect our communities. But the current House majority is using a spending bill to pay off favors to their polluter friends, putting 117 million Americans in directly into harm’s way.
I cannot understand why, when Americans want and need clean water, their representatives are voting for dirty water, pollution, contamination, and sickness.
Americans 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 without fear of toxic contaminants. They want to be able to fish in clean waters that will produce a sustainable abundance of aquatic life for perpetuity.
Our elected leaders in the House are putting American families and communities in danger just so that they can pay off campaign contributors and promote their political careers. This is clearly just plain wrong, if not criminal in its intent and results.
We need the Senate to stop this Dirty Water Rider and protect the people and waters of this country. As a last line of defense, it appears that President Obama won’t stand for this kind of polluter attack on clean water, and will likely veto any and all legislative attempts to block protections for our nation’s waters and communities. If Mitt Romney was in the White House, would such a last line defense be in place? I shudder to think of the answer to that question.