Today, the House of Representatives is considering a “minibus” spending package that would allow the Trump administration to ignore the law as it rolls back clean water protections. The bill also contains other anti-environmental provisions and would drastically cut federal funding for clean energy. John Rumpler, Environment America’s senior attorney and clean water program director, issued the following statement:
“Americans deserve clean water, yet a loophole in this spending bill not only threatens our drinking water but also sets a dangerous precedent for the functioning of our democracy.
The EPA is already moving forward with a proposal to repeal the Clean Water Rule, which restored federal protections to drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans. The Trump administration’s proposal to allow more pollution into America’s drinking water sources is senseless.
But today, Congress would go one step further, as the minibus would allow the administration to ignore the Administrative Procedures Act and every other federal statute in its repeal of the Clean Water Rule. If approved, Sec. 108 of the energy and water appropriations measure would allow EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to brazenly ignore requirements to respond to public comments, create an administrative record supported by science and facts, or face scrutiny in the courts.
Fortunately, Representative Don Beyer (VA) has offered an amendment to strike this dirty water loophole from the minibus. Members of Congress who care about our drinking water – or even just the bare minimum of accountability in government – should join Rep. Beyer in demanding removal of Sec. 108 from the minibus.
Americans also deserve a clean energy future. Yet the minibus slashes $1 billion from energy efficiency programs and squanders $120 million on an old, failed plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.
Clean water and clean energy are vital to our ecology, our health, and our future. Yet instead of securing that future, today’s appropriations bill puts polluters in the driver’s seat while shutting out the rest of us. Congress should reject this dirty package and any other attempts to subvert environmental protections through the budget process.”