There are, according to any decent human being, certain basic human rights such as a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of a citizen including food, clothing, housing, medical care, and water; among many other fundamental rights. Republicans typically do not agree with any of what the United Nations has declared are rights that are fundamental to “the recognition of the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.” Republicans, and their wealthy owners in the oil, coal, and chemical industry, particularly do not believe that any American warrants clean, non-toxic drinking water, and on Thursday Republicans in the Senate took an important step to make sure at least a third of the American population will lose access to what decent human beings believe is one of the most basic human rights; clean water.
It has been less than two weeks since President Obama announced that the Environmental Protection Agency had finalized rules according to direction from the conservative Supreme Court to define exactly what ‘navigable waters’ means for the purpose of protecting the nation’s water supply originating from lakes and rivers. Republicans have claimed since the EPA followed the Supreme Court’s directions that the so-called “Clean Water Rule” in the “Waters of the United States” is a subversive plot, and tyrannical power grab, by President Barack Obama to seize private citizens’ land, completely destroy private enterprise in America, and put an end to agriculture in America once and for all.
Of course, the real Republican objection to the EPA following its mandate, and Supreme Court directive, is that the oil, coal, and chemical industry will be required to adhere to the Clean Water Act regulations prohibiting the mass dumping of toxic chemicals, coal waste, petroleum products, and carcinogens in America’s water supply. On Wednesday, Republicans did what the Koch brothers have demanded and voted to pass a bill that effectively nullifies the EPA’s recently announced regulations to stop the oil, coal, and chemical industry from poisoning Americans’ water.
The vote in the Senate Environment and Public Works committee was, naturally, along party lines (11-9) with only Republicans supporting the nullification vote. The bill was sponsored by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and simply put nullifies the Waters of the United States Rule released barely two weeks ago. The Koch bill also sets very specific guidelines that the Kochs claim it will allow the EPA to enact when it re-writes the rule to permit the oil, coal, and chemical industry unrestricted rights to dump waste products, toxic chemicals, and carcinogens into Americans’ water supplies.
The new Republican requirements include a very long list of the bodies of water the Kochs forbid the EPA to regulate, and it requires that the EPA must consult Republican legislatures and private corporations before the Kochs will allow the agency to even begin rewriting the new rules. The Senate Republican bill eliminates any involvement by President Obama, or the Executive Branch the EPA is part of, from the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation or enforcement of any provision of the 43-year old Clean Water Act.
As it stands now, the newly-released Clean Water Rule does precisely what the Supreme Court advised the EPA to do in several recent cases; clarify exactly which bodies of water can be regulated under the Clean Water Act. The 1972 Clean Water Act already prohibits the EPA from addressing or regulating groundwater contaminated by the oil, coal, and chemical industries. In its current form, the Waters of the United States Rule, also known as the Clean Water Rule (CWR), restores protections for what any half-wit understands are “navigable waterways and their tributaries, or bodies of water that feed rivers and lakes.” Those “navigable waterways” represent the sources that over a third of the population gets its drinking, cooking, and bathing water from.
To help disabuse the public misunderstanding about the CWR due to the mountain of lies from Republicans that hate the idea of Americans having access to a safe source of water, and love the oil, coal, and chemical industries, the EPA reiterated for the one-millionth time that the Clean Water Rule can only protect waters that it has historically protected under the 1972 Clean Water Act; nothing has changed in 43 years. The CWR also, under no circumstance, requires a new permitting process for, or has any effect on, the agriculture industry whatsoever. Still, that did not stop House Speaker John Boehner from claiming the Clean Water Rule is “the administration’s decree to unilaterally expand federal authority and a raw and tyrannical power grab that will crush jobs.”
The Clean Water Rule is not a tyrannical power grab of any Americans’ private property by Barack Obama or will not crush jobs; but what does anyone expect from a lying Koch-whore like John A. Boehner or any one of the Republicans parroting the typical Republican lies about anything the President does. In a press statement from the agency the Kochs demand the Republicans eliminate with extreme prejudice, the head of the EPA Gina McCarthy said, “It (the Clean Water Rule) does not regulate ditches and does not regulate groundwater, shallow subsurface flows, or tile drains. It does not make changes to current policies on irrigation or water transfers or apply to erosion in a field. The Clean Water Rule addresses the pollution and destruction of navigable waterways – not land use or private property rights.”
Still, Senate Republicans, and soon House Republicans, decided that since the Koch brothers own and operate the United States Congress, they are under a mandate to nullify the Clean Water Rule; or as Senator Barbara Boxer said “repeal the entire Clean Water Act and remove protections for the country’s waters.” It is, after all, precisely why the Koch brothers want the EPA abolished and what the Koch brothers want, their Republican Congress will deliver; even if it is one repeal at a time. Safe, clean, and non-toxic water for a third of the American population be damned.
Besides, if any American wants clean, safe drinking water they can abide by the Nestle’ corporation rule and buy it, because according to Nestle’ CEO and now chairman Peter Brabeck; “Access to safe drinking water is not a basic human right.” Brabeck claims, like privatization-driven Republicans and the Kochs, the Earth’s waters are a corporate-owned commodity that human beings can either buy, or die. If they insist on drinking water without paying the Nestle’ corporation, or a Koch Industries’ subsidiary corporation, Republicans hope they succumb to toxic water despoiled by the oil, coal, and chemical industry; it is the Koch vision for America and Senate Republicans are Hell bent and duty-bound to see that vision reach fruition.
Over the past six years Republicans have revealed that, in their Koch-polluted minds, there are no fundamental human rights they will not attack vigorously and nullify to satisfy the Koch brothers. Since they have taken control of the House, Republicans have attempted to eliminate Americans’ access to adequate food, housing, and medical care, and now that the Koch brothers own the entire Congress, they are one vote away from eliminating a third of the population’s clean water supply and not just to satisfy the greed of the Kochs, the oil, coal, and chemical industry, but because they have the utmost contempt for a third of the American people they would gleefully see die from drinking water laden with poison, chemical waste, and carcinogens.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.