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Bush administration allowed corporations to pollute waterways


Get ready to lose your lunch: The Bush Administration has shamed environmentalists once again. And this time, we’re not talking about another sickeningly un-eco 11th-hour regulation.

Results of a Congressional investigation released yesterday show that the Bush administration has delayed or dropped more than 500 Clean Water Act violation cases since 2006. In other words, developers and corporations have been allowed to sully America’s waterways for years without being penalized.

The investigation was conducted by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar. Investigators found that the Clean Water Act has been severely compromised, beginning with the 2006 Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States.

In the case, which pitted a developer against Clean Water Act regulations, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could only protect bodies of water under the Clean Water Act if it could prove that the water in question has a “significant nexus” to waters that are or could be made navigable. (To break that down for you, the ruling essentially weakened which bodies of water could be protected under the Clean Water Act). After the ruling, things have only gone further downhill, with the EPA turning a blind eye to more than 500 violations.

From the Environment News Service:

The investigation shows that dozens of existing enforcement cases have become informal responses, have had civil penalties reduced, and have experienced delays. Many violations are not even being detected because of the substantial reduction in investigations.

 

Violations involving oil spills make up nearly half of the Clean Water Act violations that have been detected but are not being addressed.

The report also noted that in one instance, the Assistant Secretary for the Army for Civil Works put corporate lobbyists’ interests above scientific evidence when it came to Clean Water Act regulations in Arizona’s Santa Cruz River. Geez, ethically challenged political officials are becoming as numerous as Brangelina’s children.

And not depress you even more, but that’s not all: Investigators believe that the country’s water pollution may be even worse than that which was documented in the report.

From ENS:

“The actual problems may be even worse than described in the documents,” the chairmen wrote. “EPA has withheld hundreds of documents from the Committees. When documents were provided, the EPA redacted the identity of every corporation or individual accused of polluting waterways, as well as the specific waters affected.”

So not only is the EPA letting corporations get away with whatever they please, the agency won’t even let people know if they live or work near a polluted waterway. And just think about all the wildlife affected by oil-ridden channels.

If you’re as fired up about this situation as we are, be sure to throw your support behind the Clean Water Resolution Act. If the next administration passes the bill into law, it would beef up the Clean Water Act to better regulate pollution in our nation's waterways.