WASHINGTON (July 27, 2001) - Today's House vote blocking the Bush administration's effort to delay and weaken the standard for arsenic in drinking water was a landmark vote for water protection, said NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) but this victory for the environment and public health was tarnished by the House's subsequent vote refusing to restore funds for the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce laws.
"Today's arsenic vote sends a clear, bipartisan message to President Bush: The American public doesn't want people messing around with their drinking water and environment," said NRDC Senior Attorney Erik Olson. "The Republican-controlled House's clear rejection of the special interest-driven effort to gut the arsenic standard is an important landmark. We hope that the Senate quickly follows suit, so we can put the dark days of anti-scientific and anti-public health backroom deals on arsenic behind us.
"Our joy about the House's arsenic vote is tempered, however, by the vote following on its heels," Olson added. "Unfortunately, the House refused to restore funding to EPA's enforcement program. Sometimes, what the House giveth with one hand, it taketh away with another."
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 500,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.