Walden Defends the Right to Pollute | The Wandering Eye | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

Walden Defends the Right to Pollute 

If you want to get conservative rural voters riled up, nothing works better than warning them of an impending “government takeover.”

The 2nd District’s own Rep. Greg Walden understands the tactic well, and he’s using it to muster the troops against legislation that would clarify the federal Clean Water Act.

Passed in 1972, the act gives the federal government authority to prevent pollution of “navigable” waters in the United States. For the first 30 years of the act’s existence, “navigable” was interpreted broadly. But a couple of Supreme Court decisions since 2001 have held that it applies only to major rivers, lakes and other truly “navigable” waterways.

In practice, that means polluters only have to go upstream to a point where a waterway isn’t “navigable” and they can dump gunk into it without fear of federal action.

“Because of the Supreme Court decisions, companies have spilled oil, carcinogens and bacteria into the lakes, rivers and other waters without being fined or prosecuted,” Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told the Washington Times.

Clean Water Action, a group that supports reform of the act, claims that the water supplies of 110 million Americans are in danger if an amendment to the Clean Water Act backed by Oberstar and other lawmakers of both parties isn’t passed. “In just one year more than 500 enforcement cases have been dropped by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department” because of the new, more stringent interpretation of the act, its website  says.

But Walden and other conservative members of Congress, mostly from rural areas, are ganging up to try to kill the amendment.

In a press release earlier this month, Walden invoked the bogeyman of a “federal takeover” of the nation’s water – not just once, but four times. The amendment, he said, amounts to “an unprecedented federal government takeover of water in Oregon, from ponds to irrigation ditches, that would put the federal government in charge. … This is [a] top-down Washington, D.C.-driven federal takeover of our water rights.”

Of course, the Clean Water Act amendment isn’t a “federal takeover” of water, any more than the very limited health care reform legislation passed by Congress is a “federal takeover” of health care. It would simply clarify the federal government’s power to stop people from polluting water supplies, a power it exercised for 30 years.

Walden’s scary rhetoric is dishonest, and I’m sure he knows it. But raising the specter of oppressive “big gummint” and pretending to be bravely battling against it always plays well with the GOP’s hard-right “base.”

Clean Water Action urges people to contact their representatives in Congress to urge them to support the Oberstar amendment. It would be pointless to ask Walden to support it; his mind is made up. But it might be fun to ask him to explain why he’s supporting the right to pollute over the right of Americans to have clean water. E-mail him here.

Pin It

Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Coyote Willow @ Crosscut - Warming Hut No. 5

Coyote Willow @ Crosscut - Warming Hut No. 5 - Crosscut Warming Hut No 5

Wed., June 29, 6-8 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in The Wandering Eye

  • Moonshine Magic in Bend Still on the Down Low

    • Aug 9, 2012
    Get ready for our great close-up on the home distilling community out next week in our "Best of" issue. We interviewed a mixed bag of legal and anarchist distillers in Bend to find out why distilling is so very, very against the law in one's home. More »
  • The Eye Wanders Off Into the Sunset

    • Dec 26, 2010
    I’m really sorry to break the bad news to them during this season of peace and goodwill, but after this week the right-wingers in Bend and vicinity won’t have The Wandering Eye to kick around anymore. The decision to stop writing this blog was my own, and it was prompted by several factors. More »
  • DADT, Gay-Bashing and the "Icky-ness" Factor

    • Dec 19, 2010
    For the past week or so, “Zeo” of the NW Republican blog has had his jock strap in a knot over the prospect of Congress repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” rule. To hear Zeo tell it, if DADT is repealed and gays are allowed to serve openly in the US military it will mean the end not only of our armed forces but of America, its economic system and civilization in general. More »
  • More »

More by The Source Staff

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2022 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation