June 18, 2009

SENATE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE PASSES MAJOR BILL TO DEFINE AND PROTECT AMERICA'S WATERWAYS

Additional bills protect the publics' right-to-know about unsafe beaches and sewer overflows

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, lauded committee passage today of the Clean Water Restoration Act (S. 787), which reaffirms the historic jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.   The bill, as passed, protects America's waterways and watershed areas while protecting our agricultural areas from undue regulation.  

 

"The health and safety of America's waters have been at risk while Congress debated this legislative fix to recent Supreme Court decisions.   In the aftermath of SWANCC and Rapanos, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been forced to drop more than 500 cases against alleged polluters," said Senator Cardin.  

 

"The importance of the disputed streams and wetlands is on display every day in the Chesapeake Bay.   The shoreline of the Chesapeake and its tidal tributaries stretch for over 2,000 miles and more than 100,000 streams and rivers and thousands of acres of wetlands provide the freshwater that flows into the Bay.   If we do not protect the health of this incredible network of waters, we cannot hope to restore the Chesapeake to its former health."

 

Senator Cardin also praised the passage of two other bills by the EPW Committee designed to protect the public from unsafe and sometimes dangerous waters:

 

S. 878 - Clean Coastal Environment and Public Health Act

"The Beach Environment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act) programs this bill reauthorizes are incredibly important to the economies of Maryland's coastal communities, from Ocean City to Sandy Point and the scores of beaches that Marylanders enjoy.   The programs help provide our beach-goers with safe and clean beaches for tourists to enjoy every summer," said Senator Cardin.

 

 

S. 937 - Sewage overflow Community Right-to-Know Act

"The public has the right to know when untreated sewage is pouring into nearby rivers, lakes and streams making it unsafe to go swimming, canoeing and fishing. This is common-sense legislation that recognizes that sometimes the most powerful tool in a democracy is simply timely, accurate information," Senator Cardin said.