House Committee Hearing to Focus on Clean Water Act


The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 15 on the lack of progress by the Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies in meeting the goals of “fishable and swimmable waters” called for in the Clean Water Act.

A central issue of the hearing is expected to be allegations by the New York Times. The Times conducted an investigation and concluded that many states have been lax in enforcing the law, policing fewer than 3 percent of violators between 2004 and 2007, and that EPA frequently declined to prosecute offenders or forced states to comply. Several state officials have responded to the allegations by challenging data presented by the Times and characterizing it as inaccurate, incomplete or not providing an accurate picture of their programs.

The Times data purports to show National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit violations. By definition there is no question about jurisdiction, as permits already have been issued.  If jurisdiction were not adequately established, a permit would not have been issued in the first place.

There will be much made of the findings of the NY Times both in the Transportation and Infrastructure hearing and afterwards by proponents of the Clean Water Restoration Act, however the two have nothing to do with each other and attempts to tie the two together are completely without merit.

The hearing will be Webcast and archived at http://transportation.house.gov

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