The Republican-controlled House passed a bill Wednesday that would sharply curtail the federal government’s role in protecting waters from pollution by barring the Environmental Protection Agency from overruling state decisions on water quality. The bill – HR 2018 — passed on a 239-184 vote. Alaska’s Representative Don Young voted for the bill.
Republicans say the EPA needs to be reigned in because it is running roughshod over states’ rights and killing resource development projects and jobs. Sixteen Democrats joined the majority of Republicans in supporting it. The White House threatened to veto the bill, saying it “would roll back the key provisions, which have been the underpinning of the 40 years of progress in making the nation’s waters fishable, swimmable and drinkable. Under the Clean Water Act, states have primary responsibility for protecting waterways after the EPA signs off on their plans. But the agency can step in if it thinks water resources aren’t being adequately protected.