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Good News for Clean Water Restoration Act

Clean Water Network Alert
GOOD News from Capitol Hill!

Thanks to the hard work of Clean Water Network members and partners, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) passed an amended version of the Clean Water Restoration Act, which will restore important environmental protections to all of our nation’s waters!

Today, in a packed hearing room, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) passed an amended version of S. 787, the Clean Water Restoration Act, by a vote of 12-7. The EPW Committee also passed two other key Clean Water Network priority bills S. 878, Clean Coastal Environment and Public Health Act of 2009 (formerly known as the beach protection act) and S. 937, the Sewage Overflow Community Right-to-Know Act.

The Committee had yet to take up another key CWN bill, S. 933, Contaminated Sediment Remediation Reauthorization Act (Great Lakes Legacy Act), when we left to send out this alert. We will send another update on S. 933 in a subsequent email.

All three bills will now move to the Senate floor for a vote. The version of the Clean Water Restoration Act that passed today was a compromise offered by EPW Chairman Boxer (CA) together with Senators’ Bauchus (MT) and Klobuchar (MN). The substitute bill contained many of the important provisions in the original bill introduced by Senator Feingold (WI), including striking the word navigable and substituting that with “Waters of the United States.” It also included exemptions for prior converted cropland and waste treatment systems including treatment ponds or lagoons. A number of amendments to weaken the bill were introduced this morning and were all soundly defeated.

Both S. 878, the Clean Coastal Environment and Public Health Act and
S. 937, the Sewage Overflow Community Right-to-Know Act, passed with nominal opposition.

While today is a big step forward for the entire clean water community, there is still much work to be done to make these bills reality. Stay tuned for more updates and details on the bills and how you can help. Thanks again for everything you do to protect our nation’s waters.

Natalie Roy
Executive Director
Clean Water Network