As House dirty water bill fails key vote margin, Environment America launches “Clean Water for America”

Media Contacts
John Rumpler

Clean Water Director and Senior Attorney, Environment America

Environment America

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Even as the latest attack on a proposed clean water rule failed to garner sufficient votes in the House to override a promised presidential veto, environmentalists are taking no chances: today Environment America announced an ambitious Clean Water for America summer campaign to ensure that Clean Water Act protections are finally restored to thousands of waterways across the country. The effort will reach more than 1 million households in 28 cities across the country..

“From the Colorado River to the Chesapeake Bay, Americans depend on clean water – water that’s safe for swimming, fishing, and drinking,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America.  Referring to the EPA’s proposed clean water rule, Rumpler vowed, “We cannot let polluters and their allies derail the biggest step for clean water in more than a decade.”

Last fall, hundreds of thousands of Americans -– including business owners, local officials, and hunters and anglers – submitted more than 800,000 comments in support of the EPA’s proposed clean water rule. 

And so despite intense pressure from polluting industries, on Tuesday evening HR 1732 failed to attract enough votes to override a promised Presidential veto — the key margin that will determine whether the clean water rule will finally become law of the land.  Environment America praised members of Congress who voted to reject the attack on clean water on Tuesday evening, including Representatives Aguilar (CA), Cleaver (MO), Farr (CA), Fudge (OH), Garamendi (CA), Hastings (FL), Kirkpatrick (AZ), Loebsack (IA), and Thompson (MS).

For nearly 30 years, the Clean Water Act ensured clear federal protections for America’s waters. Then a set of misguided court decisions left more than half the nation’s streams and 20 million acres of without clear protection under the Act. The EPA’s proposed clean water rule would restore these protections to thousands of waterways across the country, including streams that help provide drinking water to one in every three Americans. 

With so much at stake, Environment America today launched a new campaign to ensure that the clean water rule makes it to the finish line and withstands a new wave of attacks in Congress expected over the summer. Highlights of Environment America’s Clean Water for America summer campaign include:

  • Field offices in 28 cities
  • Canvassing operations that will reach more than one million doorsteps and engage 665,000 people in face-to-face conversations about the clean water rule
  • Activating key constituencies who care deeply about clean water – including more than 1,000 small business owners, local officials, farmers, and doctors
  • More intensive efforts in key strategic states – including clean water rallies, video production, phonebanks, and paid advertising

“In the next few months, officials in Washington will make a clear choice on water,” concluded Rumpler. “Capitol Hill will either finally allow the EPA to restore protections for the places we swim, and fish, and draw our drinking water, or they can lead us back down the dark, dirty road of polluted drinking water as we saw in Toledo and West Virginia last year.  If it isn’t already obvious which of those choices the public prefers, we aim to make that very clear this summer.”