The Senate failed on Tuesday to reach cloture on a bill that would have effectively weakened the Clean Water Act and nullified the Clean Water Rule, an Obama administration effort to restore Clean Water Act protections for about half of the nation’s stream miles and the wetlands associated with these smaller streams.
The Senate’s next move may be to attempt to block the water rule with a Congressional Review Act vote. This vote, if successful, would not only halt this particular rule, it would stop the agencies from ever drafting a substantially similar rule in the future.
Earlier this year, a poll commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation found that 83% of hunters and anglers support applying the Clean Water Act to these types of streams and wetlands.
Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, commented on the Senate’s current attempts to stop the Clean Water Rule:
“The streams and wetlands under attack in the Senate this week provide drinking water for a third of all Americans and outdoor recreation opportunities for millions more. In 1972, Congress passed the landmark Clean Water Act on a bipartisan basis because it recognized that our nation’s waters were worth protecting. For most of us, nothing has changed in the past four decades. Poll after poll shows that Americans believe streams should not be polluted and wetlands should not be destroyed.
“We are pleased that this bill failed to reach cloture, and we thank the senators who voted for clean water today, but it’s hard to understand why it was up for debate in the first place. The science behind the rule is strong, as is its public support. These streams and wetlands are critical for fish, wildlife and our way of life.
“Everyone who likes to spend time outdoors—be it fishing or swimming—needs to pick up the phone today and let their Senators know that clean water is non-negotiable.”