From David Merryman, our Catawba Riverkeeper.
And, in case you need a reminder, every time you turn on your faucet, the Catawba River pours out. It's what you bathe in, what you cook with, what you drink. Without it, Charlotte wouldn't be here.
This past Saturday at the WATERKEEPER ALLIANCE Annual Conference, I learned about a terrible piece of legislation in Washington, D.C. that will dismantle fundamental pieces of the Clean Water Act. This bill is making its way through Congress quickly and will likely be in the Senate very soon.
This bill poses a direct threat to our rights to clean SWIMMABLE, FISHABLE and DRINKABLE waters. These are our rights, and the Clean Water Act was passed to protect them.
Now, DC politicians are trying to take our rights away. The actions of these elected officials threaten the health of our waterways, our fish and our communities!
Please take a few brief minutes to continue reading below, and then do what makes our country great- Make a Phone Call or Write a Personal Email to your elected U.S. Representative. The vote could be as soon as Wednesday, June 29 -- That's today, so there is no time to wait.
C. David Merryman, Catawba RIVERKEEPER
DIRTY WATER ACT 2011 - HR2018
The Clean Water Act is one of our nation's most important and fundamental laws, but it may soon be gutted through HR 2018, formally known as the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act. HR 2018 would give the states, rather than the EPA, the ultimate decision-making authority over our nations water quality standards.
On the anniversary of the day the extremely polluted Cuyahoga River caught fire in Ohio, the U.S. Congress voted the 'Dirty Water Bill' HR2018 out of committee and sent it on it's way to House passage.
Former Waterkeeper Alliance President Steven Fleischli wrote in his weekend NRDC blog:
HR 2018 is the boldest attempt in years to dismantle the Clean Water Act. It passed out of Committee last week with ZERO public debate, which makes it as much an affront to democracy as it is to our bays, rivers and streams (the source of our drinking water).
Basically, H.R. 2018 takes the "federal" out of the federal Clean Water Act and highlights a new disdain for the federal government's role in environmental protection. Yet it is this federal law and EPA's oversight that have resulted in so many improvements to water quality across America since the Clean Water Act's passage in 1972.
The federal Clean Water Act provides a safety net for waterways across the country, where states must implement minimum provisions to protect water quality. States can always do more if they so choose, but the law recognizes that Americans deserve a minimum standard of protection no matter where they live, and the Clean Water Act is designed to prevent a "race to the bottom" in places where the benefits of clean water may be ignored for short term economic or political gain.
For instance, the water quality in the lower portions of the Catawba River basin in North Carolina are degrading and under HR2018 South Carolina would not have any protection to stop pollution coming from North Carolina if that were the source. Under current EPA law, we have a way to protect our streams, creeks and River from another State's pollution.
By hand-cuffing EPA, H.R. 2018 would remove the most critical piece of the puzzle and would take away this safety net.
Last week in Chicago, Waterkeeper Alliance President and founder Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. told a room full of Riverkeepers that "Destruction of environmental laws and the environment precedes the destruction of democracy."
You must act now! The vote in the House could be as soon as Wednesday, June 29 - that's now!
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
I am asking CRF's members and friends to exercise your right to a free democracy and CALL or WRITE your Congressional Representative to let them know (even if they support HR2018) that you think this dirty water bill is the wrong direction to take America.
Your elected Representatives must hear from their constituents - ALL their constituents. This bill is not a solution to our economic woes and the economy cannot be used as an excuse to pass this bill. A strong environment means a strong economy! Don't let them say otherwise.
Sample Language- ONLY A SAMPLE, PLEASE PERSONALIZE
HR 2018 is being fast-tracked through the federal House of Representatives. Please act today, and call your Congressperson to urge them to oppose HR 2018.
Hello, my name is ___________ and I'm calling from __________, North Carolina / South Carolina. I am calling to urge Representative __________ to vote no on HR 2018, known as the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, if and when it comes to the floor of the house. HR 2018 would reverse many key provisions of the Clean Water Act by appointing the states, rather than the EPA, as the ultimate arbiter of water quality standards and final authority on Clean Water Act permits. Thank you for your time.
Call your Congressperson:
G.K. Butterfield, District 1: (202) 225-3101
Renee Ellmers, District 2: (202) 225-4531
Walter Jones, District 3: (202) 225-3415
David Price, District 4: (202) 225-1784
Virginia Foxx, District 5: (202) 225-2071
Howard Coble, District 6: (202) 225-3065
Mike McIntyre, District 7: (202) 225-2731
Larry Kissell, District 8: (202) 225-3715
Sue Myrick, District 9: (202) 225-1976
Patrick T. McHenry, District 10: (202) 225-2576
Heath Shuler, District 11: (202) 225-6401
Mel Watt, District 12: (202) 225-1510
Brad Miller, District 13: (202) 225-3032
Unsure of your district number?
Phone calls can be more effective, but if you would rather send an electronic message you can find your Congressperson's website here to complete their electronic form.
For email messages:
Dear Representative ____________,
The Clean Water Act is one of our nation's most important and fundamental laws. Just this week, an attempt to weaken this landmark legislation was passed in the Transportation and Infrastructure committee in the form of The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, HR 2018. Notice of this markup was only posted the day of the vote, giving little chance for citizen input. Passage of this bill on the floor will have deleterious impacts on our nation's clean water. I urge you to vote against HR 2018 if and when it comes to the floor of the House.
HR 2018 would reverse many key provisions of the Clean Water Act by appointing the states, rather than the EPA, as the ultimate arbiter of water quality standards and final authority on Clean Water Act permits. The result would be a patchwork of state water quality standards in which the EPA would be powerless to interject, even if they found a state-issued Clean Water Act permit to be questionable.
By allowing states to opt out of implementing federal water quality standards, not only are citizens of the communities near polluters affected, downstream communities in other states would also suffer from the pollution flowing into their drinking water supplies from upstream states willing to adopt scientifically indefensible water quality standards that sacrifice public health for corporate profits.
Once again, I urge you to OPPOSE HR 2018.
Please call or email me, David Merryman, at (704) 679-9494, if you have any questions.
Thank you for taking action now to protect North and South Carolina's waterways!