House Committee Rushes to Gut Clean Water Act -- Who Voted for Dirty Water?

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, led by Chairman John Mica of Florida with the cooperation of the panel's lead Democrat, Representative Nick Rahall of West Virginia, today approved a bill to repeal key components of the Clean Water Act. 

Surprised?  You're not alone -- the committee only announced Monday that it would consider this bill, bypassing the usual legislative niceties (hearings, consideration of the bill by the expert subcommittee), and ramming it through in one of the shortest such committee meetings I've ever seen.  The proponents of the bill must know that deliberate consideration of the legislation would be bad for their agenda, which, among other things, aims to kill initiatives the Environmental Protection Agency has launched to protect Florida waters from pollution that fuels slimy algae outbreaks and to safeguard Appalachian streams from the effects of mountaintop removal coal mining.

My colleagues David Beckman and Steve Fleischli blogged yesterday about the legislation, and we will continue to evaluate the bill as it gets hurried to the House floor, but suffice it to say that one of the big things that it does is make it harder for the Environmental Protection Agency to protect states that are downstream of pollution sources in other states from degradation.  Taking away this safety net is wrongheaded, as it potentially affects every state in the continental U.S.  With that in mind, here's a list of the committee members who voted today for this dirty water bill, accompanied by the name of an interstate water that flows into or borders their state -- by their actions today, these members effectively voted to make it easier for other states' polluters to sully these waters before they get to the citizens of the members' own states.  By the way, I got this list of interstate waters from a brief that over 30 states filed in a Supreme Court case a few years back, urging the Court to uphold critical federal protections under the Clean Water Act.

Representative Party/State Interstate Water (Upstream or Bordering States)
Mica R-FL Appalachicola River (GA)
Rahall D-WV Ohio River (PA, OH)
Altmire D-PA Delaware River (NY, NJ)
Barletta R-PA Delaware River (NY, NJ)
Boswell D-IA Missouri River (MT, ND, SD, NE)
Bucshon R-IN Lake Michigan (MI, WI, IL)
Capito R-WV Ohio River (PA, OH)
Coble R-NC Roanoke River (VA)
Costello D-IL Lake Michigan (MI, WI, IN)
Cravaack R-MN Mississippi River (WI)
Crawford R-AR Arkansas River (CO, KS, OK)
Denham R-CA Colorado River (CO, UT, AZ, NV)
Duncan R-TN Mississippi River (MN, WI, IA, IL, MO, KY, AR)
Farenthold R-TX Rio Grande (CO, NM)
Fleischmann R-TN Mississippi River (MN, Wi, IA, IL, MO, KY, AR)
Gibbs R-OH Ohio River (PA, WV, KY)
Guinta R-NH Piscataqua River (ME)
Hanna R-NY Delaware River (PA)
Harris R-MD Potomac River (WV, VA, DC)
Herrera Beutler R-WA Columbia River (OR)
Holden D-PA Delaware River (NY, NJ)
Hultgren R-IL Lake Michigan (MI, WI, IN)
Hunter R-CA Colorado River (CO, UT, AZ, NV)
Landry R-LA Mississippi River (MN, WI, IA, IL, MO, KY, TN, AR, MS)
Lankford R-OK Arkansas River (CO, KS)
LoBiondo R-NJ Delaware River (NY, PA, DE)
Long R-MO Missouri River (MT, ND, SD, NE, IA, KS)
Meehan R-PA Delaware River (NY, NJ)
Miller, Gary R-CA Colorado River (CO, UT, AZ, NV)
Miller, Candice R-MI Lake Michigan (IN, WI, IL)
Petri R-WI Mississippi River (MN, IA)
Ribble R-WI Mississippi River (MN, IA)
Schmidt R-OH Ohio River (PA, WV, KY)
Shuster R-PA Delaware River (NY, NJ)
Southerland R-FL Appalachicola River (GA)

By contrast, several members spoke today in defense of clean water, led by Representative Bishop (D-NY).  In particular, Representatives DeFazio (D-OR), Capuano (D-MA), Brown (D-FL), Johnson (D-TX), Hirono (D-HI), Norton (D-DC) and Cohen (D-TN) urged their colleagues to support clean water, and several others voted to uphold the law that's so fundamental to our lives and our economy.

Update 6/23: I'm a dummy -- forgot to mention Representative Nadler (D-NY), who was terrific in defense of the Act and who really gets to the nub of a particular problem -- the bill undermines the national backstop with respect to updating standards to keep pace with science.  See for yourself -- there's a video of the proceedings here, and Mr. Nadler starts speaking right around the 1 hr, 1 min. point.

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