As I forecast yesterday, the House just voted on an amendment offered by Representatives Moran (D-VA) and Dingell (D-MI) to the spending bill that funds the Army Corps of Engineers, which would have enabled experts at the Corps to continue to work with the Environmental Protection Agency to better protect tributary streams and wetlands based on scientific evidence of those waters' importance. Unfortunately, the House instead decided to force the Corps to stop work on needed reforms, voting against the clean water amendment.
Americans expect that the quality of our waters will be protected from pollution because our surface waters are used for drinking, swimming and fishing. Instead, the House voted to make it harder to protect or improve water quality. Thousands of streams that supply drinking water will continue to lack clear protection under the Clean Water Act as a result of this vote. This is a textbook case of how the tea party and the Republican leadership use riders to undermine health and the environment. The only good news is that 6 Republicans -- Representatives Bass, Dold, Fitzpatrick (who deserves special thanks for taking to the House floor to support the amendment), Hayworth, Platts and Wittman -- stood up to this assault.