One district, poised to harm an entire nation

July 27, 2011 § 6 Comments

There’s a lot riding on this season’s federal discretionary spending allocations.  Literally – House Republicans have been attaching riders to the bills moving through the House to block many environmental programs, and some of these riders read like love letters to special interests.  If you are already involved in environmental causes, you’ve probably seen emails or posts about this.

Some of these riders have implications locally – here’s some delicacies from H.R. 2584:

  • If you think the Navigable Waters of the U.S. designation that triggers Clean Water Act protection should apply to our at times flashy western rivers and streams, there is a rider that will restrict the EPA and the Army Corps to Bush-era definitions of navigability, in other words, not cover our waterways if their current designations were challenged.  Remember last year’s victory declaring the L.A. River navigable?  The agencies charged with protecting our waterways wouldn’t have been able to make that declaration under this rider. (See Section 435 of the bill text);
  • The EPA would also be restricted in its ability to oversee how water is used to cool power plants.  The intakes of power plants suck in and kill significant quantities of marine life locally, one of the reasons this affects our local ecosystems. (Section 436);
  • Congress would also require additional studies and delays in the implementation of urban stormwater (runoff) management regulations. (Section 439);
  • Do you have a bad taste in your mouth yet? If you like that special flavor methyl bromide, atrazine, diazinon, or glyphosate adds to your produce, you will like it even more in your water!  (Title V) You can thank Representative Simpson (R-ID) -also the author of the previous gems – for adding a rider to prohibit the EPA from regulating its application and discharge into Waters of the U.S. Not that you will have any Waters of the U.S. in your vicinity anymore anyway.

The NRDC is keeping a running list of the riders* as they bubble up.  Unfettering of agricultural pollution discharges into Florida wetlands; cutting loose on mountaintop coal mining and stream destruction in Appalachia; radioactive waste storage near groundwater that, uh, may feed the Colorado River at the hotly debated Yucca Mountain site; uranium mining near the Grand Canyon; banning restrictions on Great Lakes ballast water that is intended to prevent the spread of invasive species; and several riders that impact, as in halt, the recovery of Pacific salmon are a sampling of the issues that pertain to those of us with national Creekfreak tendencies – and the riders go on and on, degrading our air quality, integrity of land and wildlife management, and of course sticking it to greenhouse gas emissions regulations.

But if you wanted to share your thoughts about these issues with the gentleman from Idaho, who put forward many of these eyepoppers, I have to warn you – his website has a filter to prevent you from contacting him unless you have an Idaho zipcode.  He may represent one district, but he stands poised to harm an entire nation.

*From which I’ve cribbed these notes – with additional info from OpenCongress.org

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