Ruppersberger Issues Statement on Latest Attack on Clean Water
"The House of Representatives has just considered yet another attack on the Clean Water Act and efforts to restore our nation’s watersheds. Today, I voted against the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which would continue years of confusion about which waterways are covered by federal environmental protection laws and which are not.
There has been confusion regarding which waterways are covered by Clean Water Act since two Supreme Court decisions – one in 2001, another in 2006 – questioned whether it covers isolated, intrastate, non-navigable waters and tributaries in the upper portions of a watershed. After years of work from agencies, more than 400 public meetings and significant public comment, the Administration was set to unveil a final, clarifying rule this spring. This legislation seeks to prevent that rule from taking effect. It will invite more confusion and more conflict at a time when communities and businesses need clarity and certainty more than ever. Ultimately, it will delay restoration efforts for our most sensitive streams and wetlands.
Unfortunately, the bill passed the House of Representatives in a mostly party-line vote, however, the Obama Administration has threatened a veto should it pass the U.S. Senate. I will continue to oppose any and all legislation that attempts to weaken the Clean Water Act and damage our nation’s vital ecosystem."