|4:16 PM EDT||
Peter A. DeFazio, D-OR 4th
Mr. DeFAZIO. Well, the gentleman that just preceded me said this would gut this bill. He is right, it would gut this bill which deserves to be gutted.
This bill would take us back to pre-Clean Water Act standards. He says, oh, the States, if they have standards, shouldn't be bothered by the EPA. Well, this bill says if a State has adopted standards on paper, but they choose not to enforce them and they are out of compliance, the EPA can take no action.
It further says that if we discover a new harmful pollutant, as we did recently when we upgraded the standards for arsenic, most of us don't want our kids drinking arsenic in the water. The EPA cannot enforce new national standards if we discover a new dangerous pollutant unless the State agrees. It's optional; it's up to the State.
And then, of course, if you happen to be a State downstream from a State that is choosing to kind of stick it to its own people by not adopting the highest standards, or not even enforcing their existing standards, you are downstream, you don't have any choice. You have no recourse.
This bill is absurd in terms of the fact that it is just designed to totally gut the Clean Water Act and turn back the clock to the good old days when we had rivers that burned.