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Water Network

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Clean Water Act Enforcement Dropped! Send a Message to Senator Lamar Alexander: Pass the Clean Water Restoration Act NOW!

August 6th, 2008 by Renée Hoyos

A secret, internal EPA memo recently uncovered and released by two House committee chairmen revealed that EPA has dropped or de-prioritized over 500 Clean Water Act enforcement cases since July 2007 because of questions about whether the waters that the polluters discharged into is still covered by the Clean Water Act. Congress must act immediately to fix this nationwide problem.

It is critical that you TAKE ACTION NOW to contact Senator Lamar Alexander. Passage of this vital legislation will mean that the original intent of the Clean Water Act to protect all of our nation’s waters will be restored. This is our last big push before Congressional members embark on the fall campaign trail.

Click here to learn more about the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act.

Just last month, Chairman James Oberstar of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Chairman Henry Waxman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released an internal EPA document that indicates that the Supreme Court’s decision in Rapanos v. United States, combined with the agencies’ 2007 guidance, has resulted in “significant adverse impacts” to the clean water enforcement program. The internal memo was written by EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Granta Y. Nakayama. In the memorandum, Nakayama states: “Data collected from the regions shows that a significant portion of the CWA enforcement docket has been adversely affected… The Rapanos decision and the resulting Guidance have created uncertainty about EPA’s ability to maintain an effective enforcement program with respect to other [Clean Water Act] obligations.”

This situation is completely unacceptable - Congress must act now to ensure the Clean Water Act is being enforced. We cannot afford to wait while our nation’s rivers, streams, and wetlands are being polluted and destroyed with impunity.

If you want a copy of the EPA memo and the letter to EPA sent by Chairmen Oberstar and Waxman seeking more information, you can go to

ACTION NEEDED: The next step for Tennesseans is to get the bill voted successfully Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee with no weakening amendments inserted. Senator Lamar Alexander sits on this committee. Senator Alexander is currently not a co-sponsor of the bill.

We recommend calling Senator Alexander’s District Offices to advocate for the bill. A list of number for his district offices are here. Call him up and tell him that you want him to stand up for clean water by co-sponsoring this bill and passing it out of the EPW without weakening it. It’s a short conversation. The more calls the better. The only thing this bill does is remove the word “navigable” from the Clean Water Act thus restoring it to its original intent to protect ALL waters of the state. Opponents of the bill have been saying that this is an opportunity for the feds to regulate puddles and bird baths. Ridiculous!




One Response to “Clean Water Act Enforcement Dropped! Send a Message to Senator Lamar Alexander: Pass the Clean Water Restoration Act NOW!”

  1. Aziza Says:

    Great work.

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