Bad Bill Undermining Clean Water Act Protections Passes U.S. House

Last week, the U.S. House passed a bill that would deny clear Clean Water Act protections to waters that 1-in-3 Americans—more than 117 million people—depend on for safe drinking water. H.R. 1732, The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, passed 261 to 155. For a list of how members of the House voted on this bad bill, see below.

In the Great Lakes delegation, every Republican and three Democrats voted in favor of the bill, which the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition opposes. The bill, H.R. 1732, would needlessly scuttle the EPA’s and Army Corps of Engineers’ clean water protection rule. H.R. 1732 would require that the agencies scrap the current rule and start from scratch using the comments they’ve already received.

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have gathered more than one million comments from the public on the clean water protection rule. More than 87 percent of those comments were supportive of this important rule. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition supports the rule, which only restores historic protections to streams and wetlands, critical to the health of the Great Lakes—and essential to clean drinking water. The rule offers Clean Water Act protections to waters that more than 30 million people in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York depend on for safe drinking water.

As Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition notes, a lot of time, energy, and tax-payer money has gone into crafting this rule and we should let the process finish:

“This bill would have us wait for clean water, waste tax dollars and ignore the comments of nearly one million people who are overwhelmingly in favor of this rule. The bill is bad for the 30 million people who depend on streams and wetlands for their drinking water, bad for the Great Lakes, and bad for the economy. Let the EPA and Army Corps finalize their proposal so that we can protect our Great Lakes, our drinking water, our jobs, and our quality of life. Let’s judge the final rule on its merits and respect the rulemaking process.”

It is now critical that the U.S. Senate stop this bill from advancing—and that the region’s Senate delegation stand up for clean water. We are especially concerned with how Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) might vote, given their support for a non-binding amendment earlier this year that would also have undermined the clean water protection rule. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also voted to deny clean water protections to streams and wetlands in the non-binding resolution.

Members of Congress who voted in favor of this bad bill:

Illinois Reps. Danny Davis (D), Robert Dold (R), Randy Hultgren (R), Robin Kelly (D), and Peter Roskam (R).

Indiana Reps. Susan Brooks (R) Marlin Stutzman (R), and Jackie Walorski (R).

Michigan Reps. Justin Amash (R), Dan Benishek (R), Mike Bishop (R), Bill Huizenga (R), Candice Miller (R), John Moolenaar (R), Dave Trott (R), Fred Upton (R), and Tim Walberg (R).

Minnesota Reps. Tom Emmer (R), John Kline (R), Erik Paulsen (R), and Tim Walz (D).

New York Reps. Chris Collins (R), Chris Gibson (R), Richard Hanna (R), John Katko (R), Tom Reed (R), and Elise Stefanik (R).

Ohio Reps. Bob Gibbs (R and Cosponsor), Bill Johnson (R), Jim Jordan (R), David Joyce (R), Bob Latta (R), and Jim Renacci (R).

Pennsylvania Reps. Mike Kelly (R), and Glenn Thompson (R).

Wisconsin Reps. Sean Duffy (R), Glenn Grothman (R), Reid Ribble (R), Paul Ryan (R), and James Sensenbrenner (R).

Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), and Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) did not vote. All other members of the Great Lakes delegation opposed this bad bill.

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