We know from past history that the shtick of the GOP and its Tea Bagger faction is to sink government in a bathtub if they can get enough dumb people to believe they can do it. The primary principle or precept is that "big gubmint" is bad and dammit, we're going to stop it from protecting workers' interests - say from slaving away in a mine filled with methane, or people drinking water from a lake laced with cryptosporidium.
The GOP and its conservo Huns who assert the Constitution is their main book (but can't tell you the difference between the 9th and 10th amendments and the meaning of unenumerated rights) thus would rather you die from being gassed in a mine, or from cryptosporidium than that the government extend its power to protect you, the citizen. (But, the same lamos won't blink when gov't is perverted to protect the interests of corporations).
Enter now House bill, H.R. 5078, which overrides a rule proposed in March by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, seeking to clarify two Supreme Court decisions that had made it difficult to determine whether waterways that are dry for part of the year are protected by the Clean Water Act — confusion that polluters have readily taken advantage of. (As seen in several recent cases including in West Virginia and North Carolina - where tens of thousands were left without drinking water for weeks)
The new rule would give the EPA regulatory authority over millions of acres of wetlands along with about 2 million miles of small streams, the latter of which feed into rivers, lakes and reservoirs that provide drinking water for more than 115 million Americans (all of whom, presumably, prefer that water to be pollution-free). It would also protect critical fish and wild habitats.
The EPA emphasized (quite ardently) that it would not be expanding the Clean Water Act, only reasserting its authority over water sources that have historically been protected.
”We are clarifying protection for the upstream waters that are absolutely vital to downstream communities,”
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in March, going on to point out - as if it was really necessary - though these days you have to wonder:
"Clean water is essential to every single American, from families who rely on safe places to swim and healthy fish to eat, to farmers who need abundant and reliable sources of water to grow their crops, to hunters and fishermen."
How much cancer H.R. 5078 will generate is hard to say, but over time it's a good guess that at least 1 in 10 of the 115 million affected will develop a cancer of the liver, kidneys, pancreas or bladder, and possibly brain - not to mention leukemia. Will the GOP lay out their big pocket books to pay for all those cancer treatments? I somehow doubt it. Hell, they even have a boner to kill Obamacare. So why would they give a damn if some destitute farmer in the Appalachians were to develop cancer?
Then there is the illness we know will spread from fouled water, including from pollutants as well as the sort of red algae pollution that recently fouled the water of Lake Erie - not to mention the violent illness from crypto-sporidium. Ask the 490,000 people of Milwaukee who became ill from such an outbreak back in 1994.
It seems quite evident to me that if people seriously want their water protected - and with it their health interests- they will have to besiege the House and its anti-government buffoons with letters, emails, cards, whatever..... and let them know in no uncertain terms that their override is unacceptable.
Unless, of course, they have no problem with getting ill and having to deal with the inevitable mess and medical bills all by themselves. Which option is kind of incredible even given the purported Yankee affinity for "self reliance" - and the fact that the corporations meanwhile are laughing all the way to the bank over all the help the government is giving them. (For example, monumental corporate welfare to the tune of $180b each year, including tax "inversion".)
Europeans, by contrast, would never tolerate such nonsense. They demand and expect their governments to have THEIR interests at heart which is why - for example - one beholds much greater degrees of data protection, as well as health costs covered. Oh, and having all GMO foods labeled, which Americans have been convinced (by their own gov't and corporations) isn't necessary.
Will Americans ever wake up to insisting that their government - and ALL political parties - protect their interest, otherwise known as the "general welfare"?
Doubtful, given that many don't even know the general welfare clause exists and is clearly stated in the Preamble of the Constitution. Maybe these Americans need to re-read it sometime.