Donate NOW!

Sign up for TCWN's E-news

Tennessee Clean
Water Network

123A S. Gay St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

Office: 865.522.7007
Fax: 865.525.4988

TCWN attends River Action Day in DC

June 25th, 2008 by Renée Hoyos


Last week while in DC, I and about 10 other organizations met with the EPA to talk about the fallout from Rapanos, the new wetlands mitigation rule, TMDLs, and nutrient standards. The experience was largely typical. They talked about what they were doing and answered questions vaguely. They received many 1,000s of comments on the Rapanos Guidance. On the wetlands mitigation rule they are emphasizing avoidance and minimization for development within wetlands. We didn’t get much traction on the nutrient issue. EPA was supposed to come out with a standard years ago. They continue to put it off.

The next day was spent visiting with the Tennessee Congressional Delegation. Most visits were pleasant and many responses were typical. I was very happy to be accompanied by Lee and Carter Patton. They were invaluable help and had the necessary passion to sustain us through a very long day. Our primary focus was the 40th Anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, global warming regulation and the Sewage Right to Know Act. On the Tennessee side, we discussed the Mercury Reduction Act and suggested four river segments in the Smokies to be designated Wild & Scenic Rivers.

We met with Congressman Zack Wamp who seemed interested in our views on the Mercury legislation, supportive of the Sewage Right to Know Act. He was the only congressman to meet with us that day.

We had one very exciting meeting with a staffer. For grins, take our little quiz and guess which congresswoman he works for.

1. When asked what he thinks about global warming his response was:

  1. With $5M we can solve all the infrastrure problems in third world countries
  2. 2008 was the coolest year on record. (he might have meant "hip", but we didn’t bother to ask)
  3. It’s cheaper to fix other countries than to regulate green house gases.

Answer: All of the above.

2. When asked what accomplishment was he most proud of he answered:

  1. The congresswoman’s commitment to the environment
  2. The congresswoman’s commitment to the oil industry
  3. I can’t answer that.

Answer: #3

3. When asked, "OK, what is the accomplishment in Tennessee he is most proud of?" he answered:

  1. Oh, that’s easy, the congresswoman’s commitment to Tennessee’s environment
  2. The congresswoman’s commitment to Tennessee’s oil industry
  3. That question is too broad. I can’t answer it.

Answer: #3

If you know which congresswoman we speak of, email me at [email protected] and if you’re correct, I’ll send you 10 TCWN Holiday cards! It’s never too early for Christmas.

We went on to have several wonderful conversations with the staffers of Senators Corker and Alexander and Congressmen Cooper, both Davis’, and Gordon. They all understand the dire straits we are in due to climate change and though they did not offer solutions to these problems, they did understand the need for swift action to curb the effects of a globe gone wild.

That evening American Rivers hosted a gala celebration for the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act’s 40 Anniversary. We only have one river on the W&S list - the Obed River. There were many notables at the event: Bruce Babbit, Will Skerrit and Micheal Keaton (yes, Batman).

I had a great time and thank American Rivers for making it happen. They have a River Action Day every year. We post it on our enews. Every time I participate in River Action Day I’m reminded how much our congressional delegation needs to hear from us that preserving water quality is important.



Leave a Reply