Back in March, I reported with hope that the House of Representatives was considering a bill that would end the dumping of wastes associated with mountaintop removal coal mining into rivers and streams. Now I see that the Congress isn’t really considering the bill at all.
The Clean Water Protection Act, H.R. 1310, has been stuck in subcommittee ever since it was introduced. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, hasn’t seen fit to hold a hearing on the Clean Water Protection Act, and as far as I can see, there is no hearing scheduled for consideration of the bill. The goals of the bill are not included in the subcommittee’s agenda for the current session of Congress at all.
It isn’t because the Clean Water Protection Act lacks supporters. In fact, the legislation has 148 cosponsors.
I’m not a congressional insider, so I can’t say with authority what is preventing Representative Johnson from moving forward with the Clean Water Protection Act. I can observe, however, that one impediment to the fair consideration of the bill is that the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment is located within the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, a committee that focuses more on doing favors for commercial interests rather than protecting American citizens from the pollution those commercial interests create. There is still no House committee on the environment.
Apparently, the towns who have to drink water polluted by mountaintop coal removal mining haven’t been able to funnel enough money into congressional campaigns to get a House committee that will address their needs.