Finally, Congressman Henry Waxman has visited the South Bay. August 7, Congressman Waxman first visited the Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility, where recycled water is provided for non-potable uses throughout the South Bay. Later, Congressman Waxman visit the West Basin Municipal Water District's Ocean-Water Desalination Demonstration Facility in Redondo Beach.
Waxman’s visit brings up the legacies of the Clean Water Act, an expansive piece of legislation, passed in 1972, which would enforce an administrative agency, the EPA, to provide standards and enforcement to protect our water ways and keep our water clean.
Here is a brief summary of the law:
The Clean Water Act: (CWA) regulates ‘point-source’ (sewage pipes) and‘non-point-source’ (land and road runoff) water pollution. The EPA’s approachsince the early 1990s is ‘watershed-based,’ which means cooperating acrosspolitical boundaries. (Source)
For years, Waxman has been a vocal advocate of the Clean Water Act; yet four years ago, Waxman had this to say:
Our investigation reveals that the clean water program has been decimated ashundreds of enforcement cases have been dropped, downgraded, delayed, or never brought in the first place. We need to work with the new Administration torestore the effectiveness and integrity to this vital program. (Source)
Waxman waxed wrathful over the lack of enforcement inpart because of the the 2006 Supreme Court decision Rapanos v. United States, in which a contractor wanted to fill up three wetland areas, which did not constitute traditional waters in his opinion, although the EPA had deemed that those areas were protected by the Clean Water Act. Just because an intermittent tributary emerged between the wetlands and a nearby watercourse, according to the Court, did not therefore constitute a waterway which would preclude Mr. Rapanos from constructing a mall on the site of the wetlands. The issue of defining "wetlands," and of permitting a regulatory agency (the EPA) to make decisions based on vague rules poorly constituted in the legislation, has created more problems rather than solving them.
Congressman Waxman has endorsed such heavy-handed legislation to protect the environment, yet the rights of property owners to dispense with their property is another constitutional issue which still has not received adequate attention. The Green Overreach is the regulatory issue which Congress is trying to remedy, partly to help jumpstart the economy. The Rapanos case was not the first time that an over-expansive reading of the statute has created problems for property owners. One couple in Idaho (Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency) wanted the right to file an immediate appeal against the EPA, which had ruled that they could not build a home on their own property because of a compliance order enjoining construction on the wetlands in their land. The Sacketts sought immediate relief, or face the consequence of paying $75,000 a day for noncompliance with the EPA while appealing their decision to enjoin their construction on their one property. (Source)
There has to be a better way to care for the environment while caring for the rights and liberties of individual Americans. After 38 years in office, Congressman Waxman has had more than enough time to usher in a long overdue reassessment of The Clean Water Act, a law which has actively and strongly supported. Instead, he has authored an insurance mandate, which is really a huge tax increase, limiting coverage and raising premiums instead of the intended opposite effects of increasing access while decreasing costs. He has taken up oversight hearings on the Tobacco industry, which has had a long-standing record of wrongdoing. He has also investigated steroid use in Major League Baseball, although he apparently had not working knowledge of the steroids laws in this country (see attached video).
The Beach Cities have the coastline, the weather, and a quality of life which we would like to maintain. We need a representative in Congress who can bridge economics and environmental causes, who will not usher in job-killing and bureaucracy-enhancing legislation which harms property owners only to effect a minimal improvement on our air and water. We need a Congressman who spends more time dealing with the pressing issues of debt and deficits while ending the gridlock that has stalled energy independence for this country. Independent Bill Bloomfield, a local businessman, has a record of running businesses and finding solutions to pressing problems. A new face with new ideas is in order.
Waxman is all washed up. Bill Bloomfield for the 33rd!