The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) urges you to oppose all damaging policy riders in H.R. 3219, the Defense, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch, and Energy and Water Development National Security Appropriations Act, 2018. SELC opposes inserting harmful policy riders into spending bills in an attempt to circumvent regular legislative order. Quite simply, it undermines the legislative process. Please vote NO to H.R. 3219.
Specifically, the language in Section 108(a) of Division D would allow the Trump administration to disregard countless laws as it carries out its plan to undermine clean water safeguards. If enacted, this provision would authorize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule without following basic and longstanding processes aimed at giving people a voice in their government’s actions. For instance, a repeal could ignore the Administrative Procedure Act’s requirements to provide meaningful opportunity for public comment on a proposed rule, or its provisions demanding that rules be “in accordance with law” and not arbitrary or capricious. This fact reveals the real motivation for the rider—its proponents want to shield the Trump administration’s repeal of carefully developed clean water protections from public scrutiny and from independent judicial review. Without the 2015 Clean Water Rule, the streams that help supply public drinking water systems serving one in three Americans will remain threatened. This provision not only is bad policy, but it also attempts to silence public participation in the process. Representative Beyer (VA) and Representative Esty (CT) plan on introducing an amendment to strip this rider from H.R. 3219. Please support the Beyer- Esty amendment to strike this harmful rider.
Additionally, there is language in Section 107 of Division D that if enacted, would exempt certain discharges of dredged or fill material from Army Corps’ permitting under the Clean Water Act. The Act already exempts ongoing agricultural activities from such permits but requires permitting when a change in use is made. This rider would have the effect of nullifying Congress’s direction to subject those non-exempt discharges to pollution control officials’ review.
Please oppose any anti-environmental provisions in the bill and reject these attempts to remove safeguards for the streams, wetlands, and other waters on which your constituents depend for drinking water, outdoor recreation, and flood control.
Navis A. Bermudez
Federal Legislative Director
Please contact your elected officials.