On Thursday a New York Times editorial highlighted the behind-the-scenes strategy currently being employed by some in Congress of defunding important environmental legislation rather than repealing it.
The Clean Water Act of 1972 is one of the most prominent bills to come under these attacks, following an attempt by the Obama administration to clarify key aspects of the legislation’s jurisdiction and expand its protections. This is necessary because under the George H. W. Bush administration, the Act was rendered relatively meaningless by two Supreme Court challenges and guidance by the administration.
Recently, House Republicans allied with oil companies and other special interests incorporated a provision into the Army Corps of Engineers spending bill that prohibited the use of any money to “develop, adopt, implement, administer or enforce,” guidelines established under the Obama administration for executing the Act.
The provision essentially would make the Clean Water Act unenforceable.