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How to Blow The Moment on Clean Water

In the wake of an outstanding major NY Times series expose of Clean Water Act failures, Congress began oversight hearings today (see House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure backgrounder)

These hearings provide clean water advocates a golden moment to talk about failures of EPA enforcement and to propose strong reforms to set a high bar for the Obama EPA and Democratic controlled Congress.

Former NJ DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson, current EPA Administrator testified today.

Jackson’s appearance provided a unique opportunity to advocate for NJ’s hugely successful Clean Water Enforcement Act. That Act sets mandatory penalties for permit violations and requires annal inspections. NJ funds these compliance and enforcement efforts via polluter pays permit discharge fees.

We could have urged that these aspects of NJ’s clean water program become a national model.

But what did the testimony from the NJ clean water advocate focus on? Horseshit. Literally. 

I’d love to know the inside political story on how this NJ clean water advocate got invited to testify at the hearing.

It’s times like these that make me want to find another line of work.


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