Here’s how they voted on clean water for headwaters and wetlands
In late October, I wrote about three upcoming attacks from Congress on sportsmen’s access to healthy headwater streams and wetlands. We’re now witnessing the aftermath of two of these attacks and, unfortunately for sportsmen, it’s not all good news.
First, a victory: On November 3, the Senate voted down a bill that would have forced a costly and unnecessary do-over on a multi-year federal process to write a rule clarifying which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Rule has been (and continues to be) a target of Congressional ire. Had the bill just sent the rule back to square one, it would have set the cause of clean water back many years. But the bill would have gone one step further to eliminate protections for some waters currently covered by the Clean Water Act, and eliminate consideration of the impact on fish and wildlife when deciding how to protect a body of water. Sportsmen turned out in a big way to oppose this disastrous bill, and it failed.
The bad news? Remarkably, 57 of your senators still voted for the bill undercutting the Clean Water Act. Even worse, on the very next day, the Senate approved a resolution that would wipe away all the work done by federal agencies to produce the Clean Water Rule and prevent them from ever issuing a similar rule to clear up regulatory confusion. This bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass easily. Fortunately, the president is sure to veto it.
Did your senator stand with sportsmen and vote in favor of healthy trout streams and productive wetlands? Click here to see how your senator voted on S.1140, which would have stripped protections from waters long-covered by the Clean Water Act. Click here to see how your senator voted on S.J.Res.22, which would have locked in Clean Water Act confusion and pollution threats to wetlands and headwaters indefinitely.
If your lawmaker voted ‘Nay,’ they voted correctly for sportsmen’s access and outdoor recreation industry jobs.
Throughout much of the debate about Clean Water Act jurisdiction, senators opposing the Clean Water Rule have claimed that “everyone is for clean water,” as if this is somehow self-evident. But, at some point, the actions of our elected officials have to match their words.
Senators cannot claim to be for clean water and then vote for a bill that would kill the Clean Water Rule and prevent efforts to better protect clean water in the future. Senators cannot claim to be for clean water and then vote for a bill that strips Clean Water Act protections that have existed for decades for many of the waters that are critical to fish and wildlife. Sportsmen need to know the difference between the lawmakers who are actually working to maintain and improve natural resources and those who just say they are. The votes in the Senate this week are a good place to start recognizing the difference.
Tell your senators how you feel about their votes. Tell them you need clean water where you hunt and fish.
4 Responses to “Are Your Senators Just Paying Lip Service to Sportsmen?”
WHO from Texas voted against this?
C.D., both Texas senators, Senators Cornyn and Cruz, voted for these bills undermining clean water protections.
It was a straight party line vote. R’s – yes, D’s – no. It is a little deceiving on a party line vote to state that only one party truly understands and supports sportsmen and the other party does not. There are multiple facets involving hunting and fishing in America and one party only does not have a lock on the answers. One is the federal overreach on the part of the EPA to vastly extend the clean water act beyond its historical impact. The R’s were reacting to that situation. There are good reasons why some sportsmen are wary of increasing the regulatory footprint of the EPA. Oops, Let’s Turn the Colorado River Yellow comes to mind… It is a legitimate policy issue to determine where water quality regulatory authority should primarily rest. Sorry to say, your article grossly misrepresents a public policy issue on a party line vote by not being upfront on that point.
Johmar, thanks for your comment. I couldn’t agree more that one party does not have a lock on the answers. In this case, it wasn’t a party line vote. On the first vote, four Democrats crossed party lines to vote with all of the Republicans. On the second vote, three Democrats and one Republican crossed party lines to vote with the other side. My point is, regardless of party, those who voted in favor of these bills did not do what is best for conservation of fish and wildlife habitat.