Déjà Vu for Clean Water Act Protections
Jun 3, 2011 Posted by Dawn Merritt
By Scott Kovarovics, IWLA Conservation Director
Yogi Berra has to be one of the most widely quoted people of all time. If Yogi was working with the Izaak Walton League right now, he’d be saying, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” That sense of déjà vu comes from congressional efforts to derail restoration of Clean Water Act protections for small streams, wetlands, and other critical waters.
Yesterday, a subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives approved a budget bill for the Army Corps of Engineers that would bar the Corps from finalizing new clean water guidance or revising its clean water regulations. This past February, the House of Representatives approved a budget bill with similar restrictions. However, strong opposition from the Izaak Walton League as well as other national hunting and angling groups, many Senators, and the Obama administration prevented that bill from becoming law. This latest blocking maneuver is just as misguided.
Why do we oppose this restriction? First, it would short-circuit the public comment process that’s currently underway on Clean Water Act guidance proposed by EPA and the Corps of Engineers. The American people are weighing in on that proposal right now, yet some in Congress want to pull the plug. Second, the new House provision would bar the Corps from using any appropriated funds in any future year to revise or issue new clean water guidance or regulations. This would lock-in current threats to drinking water for 117 million Americans and threats to streams and wetlands that provide critical fish and wildlife habitat and are essential for outdoor recreation.
Ironically, if there’s one thing that groups on all sides of this debate agree on, it’s the need to update Corps and EPA regulations on the Clean Water Act. Yet if this latest House provision becomes law, the Corps would be barred – not just for one year, but into the future – from taking the one action for which consensus seems to exist.
We need to restore the Clean Water Act. Unfortunately, with the House provision adopted yesterday, “it’s déjà vu all over again.”
– Scott Kovarovics, IWLA Conservation Director
To learn more about threats to the Clean Water Act, visit our Protecting Clean Water Web page.