Big storms and fracking: what’s at stake? | Amy Mall’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC

Big storms and fracking: what’s at stake? | Amy Mall’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.

AWWA, AMWA, NAWC issue statement on fracking Breaking News – Publications – AWWA

AWWA, AMWA, NAWC issue statement on fracking Breaking News – Publications – AWWA.

EPA Tells It Like It Is on HR 2018–the Dirty Water Bill | David Beckman’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC

EPA Tells It Like It Is on HR 2018–the Dirty Water Bill | David Beckman’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.

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David Beckman, Senior Attorney & Director, Water Program, Los Angeles

David Beckman

In 1984, I left the cold Philly suburbs for college at U.C. Berkeley, and I have been in California ever since, save three years during law school. I spent three years at a big law firm before coming to NRDC, where I hoped I could combine legal practice with a subject I cared about, the environment. NRDC has enabled me to do that, and I have been here for nearly 14 years. NRDC just launched a new national water program, that integrates our advocacy efforts across the country. The focus of our work is ensuring safe and sufficient water for people and ecosystems. Water is one of the major environmental issues of the 21st Century—a natural resource that is in short supply in many regions and is likely to become even more scarce as population grows and climate changes. There’s a lot to do, and I am going to be focused on how we can make the biggest contribution to ensuring the water we have is clean and we use it as efficiently as we can.

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EPA Tells It Like It Is on HR 2018–the Dirty Water Bill

Posted June 23, 2011 by David Beckman in Curbing Pollution

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A number of my NRDC Water Program colleagues are blogging on HR 2018, reflecting its status as one of the worst dirty water bills any of us have seen.  NRDC’s Founding Director John Adams has now weighed in with a beautiful…continued

EPA Tells It Like It Is on HR 2018–the Dirty Water Bill

David BeckmanPosted June 23, 2011 in Curbing Pollution

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A number of my NRDC Water Program colleagues are blogging on HR 2018, reflecting its status as one of the worst dirty water bills any of us have seen.  NRDC’s Founding Director John Adams has now weighed in with a beautiful piece that underscores how nonsensical and destructive 2018 would be if passed.

The bill blasted out of the House Transportation & Infrastructure committee in record time yesterday, with no hearing. Even if you support repealing foundational elements of our nation’s clean water law, doing so without airing the issues is an indefensible process.  But trying to speed the bill along while folks are on summer vacation (many enjoying waters protected by the very Clean Water Act provisions the bill would gut) is, of course, the plan.

Now, the US EPA, in response to a request from Representative Tim Bishop of New York, has confirmed the analysis of many environmental advocates and others about the bill.  EPA, like many government agencies, doesn’t always use the most direct language in letters to members of Congress. But this is a destructive enough bill that EPA has quickly and commendably found a strong voice.  EPA’s words speak for themselves:

The first line of EPA’s “Technical Assessment H.R. 2018” gets right to the point:  “The bill would overturn almost 40 years of federal legislation by preventing EPA from protecting public health and water quality.”

EPA here is not overstating.  HR 2018, as EPA’s analysis notes, prevents EPA from assuring that upstream states don’t lower standards in a way that passes pollution to their downstream neighbors—a classic problem the Clean Water Act was designed in part to address.  And it prevents EPA from responding to the best science to improve water quality standards as we learn more about the impacts of pollution.

This is like preventing your doctor from updating a course of treatment based on new medical discoveries. It makes no sense.

But the perniciousness of 2018 means that even this isn’t the full story.  EPA then lists its other impacts, and you quickly get the sense that this bill is irredeemable:

  • “The bill would prevent EPA from providing its views on whether a proposed project that pollutes or even destroys lakes, streams, or wetlands would violate CWA standards.”
  • “The bill would remove EPA’s existing state coordination role and eliminate the careful Federal/State balance established in the current CWA.”
  • “The bill would prevent EPA from protecting communities from unacceptable adverse impacts to their water supplies and the environment caused by Federal permits.”
  • “The bill would substantively eliminate the opportunity for EPA, the federal government’s expert on water quality, to comment on Federal permits impacting water quality and public health.

HR 2018 is, at least in part, a direct reaction to positive actions the administration has taken to protect water quality—vetoing a particularly destructive mountain-top mining proposal; upgrading water quality standards in Florida; and proposing stronger action to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, to name three.

It is intended, at minimum, as a message:  EPA, watch out, if you use your authority, we will take it away.  Now that HR 2018 has been turned loose in Congress, we all need to send an equally clear message that we won’t stand for these sort of attacks on the nation’s bedrock water quality statute.

Time to Stop Attacks on the Clean Water Act and Protect Americans’ Top Environmental Priority

Posted June 21, 2011 by David Beckman in Curbing Pollution, U.S. Law and Policy

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To quote Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”  After spending much of the spring attacking the Clean Air Act, several lawmakers in the House have now set their sights on the Clean Water Act.  This latest onslaught puts…continued

H.R. 2018 Un-doing the Clean Water Act

Action Alert

Please see this article by Steve Fleischi of the NRDC:

Not satisfied with merely trying to undo the Clean Air Act, the House
of Representatives has now decided to attack the federal Clean Water
Act with the introduction of H.R. 2018, which is slated for mark-up
tomorrow (Wednesday) in the House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee.  The bill, sponsored by Congressman John Mica of Florida,
strips EPA of critical oversight authority that for decades has
resulted in improved water quality across the country.  And it’s not
just Republicans leading the charge.  Several Democrats, including
Representatives Nick Rahall (WV), Jason Altmire (PA) and Tim Holden
(PA), have co-sponsored the legislation.

The bill seems to be a reaction to EPA’s recent important efforts to
protect water quality in Florida, West Virginia, and on the Chesapeake
Bay.  But its impact is far broader than that.

Also called the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011,” H.R
2018 takes “cooperation” to a whole new level by stripping EPA of its
ability to protect national water quality without state-by-state
approval.  Among other things, the bill:

* Limits EPA’s ability to effectively implement or make necessary
improvements to state water quality standards to deal with modern
pollution challenges.
* Prevents EPA from improving numeric criteria for pollutants that
have led to dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico.
* Restricts EPA from upgrading standards for toxic pollutants
where narrative standards only provide very limited protection (a
common example being state standards that prohibit the “discharge of
toxic pollutants in toxic amounts”).
* Prevents EPA from vetoing state-issued Clean Water Act permits
even if EPA concludes those permits are not protective of water
quality.
* Blocks EPA’s ability to withhold federal funding to states even
if EPA determines the state’s implementation of water quality
standards is not protective of water quality.

Basically, H.R. 2018 takes the “federal” out of the federal Clean
Water Act and highlights a new disdain for the federal government’s
role in environmental protection.  Yet it is this federal law and
EPA’s oversight that have resulted in so many improvements to water
quality across America since the Clean Water Act’s passage in 1972.

The federal Clean Water Act provides a safety net for waterways across
the country, where states must implement minimum provisions to protect
water quality.  States can always do more if they so choose, but the
law recognizes that Americans deserve a minimum standard of protection
no matter where they live, and the Clean Water Act is designed to
prevent a “race to the bottom” in places where the benefits of clean
water may be ignored for short term economic or political gain.

By hamstringing EPA, H.R. 2018 would remove the most critical piece of
the puzzle and would take away this safety net.

Indeed, sponsors of the bill seem intent on taking us back to the
“good old days” of limited federal involvement when rivers like the
Cuyahoga caught fire and Lake Erie was declared dead – and when states
sued other states because pollution flowing from an upstream state
ruined a neighboring state’s waterway.  Yet these past horrors and the
legislative history of the Clean Water Act reveal why the federal role
was and remains so important:  before 1972 many states lacked any
approved water quality standards and national efforts to abate and
control water pollution were “inadequate in every vital aspect.”

I say this is the worse attack on the Clean Water Act in at least 15
years because it is hard to compare which is worse, the Dirty Water
Bill of 1995 or today’s H.R. 2018.  Both contained provisions to
paralyze EPA’s Clean Water Act duties – the Dirty Water Act under the
guise of cost-benefit analysis, H.R. 2018 under the guise of state’s
rights.   But one thing that is easy to see is that H.R. 2018 will
undermine almost 40 years of progress in cleaning up America’s
waterways, and it will remove America’s most vital safety net for
protecting water quality across all 50 states.

Please see the below link for original article:

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/sfleischli/another_clean_water_act_