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Water Bill Leaves 'Bad Taste' For MO Environmentalists

August 1, 2011

WASHINGTON - Safeguards on clean water in Missouri may disappear if a bill in Congress is successful. The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act removes some federal authority to enforce clean water laws, leaving some waterways unregulated.

Ted Mathys, state advocate with Environment Missouri, says that would be the effect of nearly 40 policy riders attached to the appropriations bill under debate in the U.S. House.

"The bill is incredibly broad and stacked up with policy riders. It is an enormous gift to polluters. It is one of the worst environmental bills we've seen in many many years."

Mathys says the bill would cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 18 percent and restrict its ability to maintain clean drinking water for almost 2.5 million Missourians.

"Not only does it slash funding for key environmental protections, but it also places public health at risk by essentially allowing a number of the largest polluters in the country, from coal-fired power plants to large agricultural producers, to continue to foul our air and our waterways."

The riders reflect the intention of House Republican leadership to cut spending by the Interior Department, the EPA and other agencies. Mathys says the riders make disproportionate cuts in environmental and natural resources programs, threatening health and safety.

President Obama has made clear his intention to veto any environmental spending bill that arrives with the policy riders in place.

The measure is HR 2584, the FY 2012 Interior and Environment and Related Agencies' Appropriations bill.



Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO