Legislation H.R. 5078, which would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to define what “waters” are protected under the Clean Water Act, passed in the House by 61 percent on Sept. 9. The only Iowan to vote against the Act was Bruce Braley.
This vote was extremely significant because currently 62 percent of Iowa’s waters are unprotected by the Clean Water Act. As a result, Iowa’s rivers and streams have anywhere from two-10 times more phosphorus and nitrogen than is considered safe. And we can’t fish, canoe or swim in 470 of these rivers and streams without the risk of illness. It’s obvious that Iowa’s rivers are not getting the protection they deserve.
Why any of our Representatives voted for this Act is beyond me. Science, not politics, should be leading this debate. We should be actively working to close the loopholes that negatively affect our agriculture, economy and our quality of life. This clarification would enable the EPA to better protect our streams, wetlands and important watershed features without being dragged into court every time someone hoped to avoid compliance by exploiting an ambiguity.
Because of that, I’d like to thank Bruce Braley for voting for Iowa by voting against H.R. 5078.