An Assault on Democracy
By Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Reader Supported News
Like the 104th Congress when Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, the House today is swinging a sledgehammer at a cornerstone of contemporary American democracy and undermining the most extraordinary body of environmental law in the world.
Chief among the attacks is HR 2018, known as the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011.” The bill, currently working its way through the House, hogties the federal government’s role in administering the federal Clean Water Act and gives states a veto power over a host of critical water-quality decisions that the Clean Water Act currently authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to make. This approach will foster a 1950s-style race-to-the-bottom as shortsighted and self-interested state politicians dismantle their clean water laws in order to recruit filthy polluters.
Corporate polluters – through massive campaign donations and relentless fear-mongering – can easily dominate the state political landscapes. Their indentured servants in Congress – many flying the Tea Party banner – are working to disrupt the existing balance between state control and federal oversight in our environmental laws by returning us to the days of limited federal supervision – a time when local government was on the side of polluters in a partnership that was stealing people’s livelihoods, their recreation, their health, safety, property values and their childhoods.