The House Passes Sewage Right to Know

 Hello Act for Healthy Rivers Supporter:

I’ve got some great news. On Monday, June 23rd, the House, through a “suspension of the rules” vote, passed HR 2452 – The Raw Sewage Overflow Community Right to Know Act of 2007! This is a major victory for communities and the public’s health all across the country and it would not have been possible without S.W.I.M. Storm Water Infrastructure Matters’s support and the actions you’ve taken over the last year and a half to get it done. It’s been a very long time since a positive amendment to the Clean water Act’s been made and while we’re not totally there yet we’ve taken one major step towards getting us there.

For those you of you unfamiliar about how a bill passes on “suspension” here’s a quick summary. The queue for floor time in both the Senate and the House is quite long, as you would imagine, and the schedule/agenda is determined by the Speaker in the House and the Majority Leader in the Senate. So as not to let all of the bills that pass out of committee die simply because there isn’t time on the floor schedule, Congress will often “suspend the rules” on the procedural requirements in order to pass non-controversial bills. Barring any objections, the bills are nominated for passage on suspension, there’s usually a little floor time given to debate and discuss of the bills, and then they are voted on by a voice vote (not recorded) and that’s it. Right to Know, with it’s widespread support from the environmental and outdoor recreation communities as well as industry passed unanimously out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and was therefore an easy candidate for passage on suspension.

Now it’s on to the Senate. The Senate version of the bill is still without a Republican co-sponsor but we are getting closer to having one and the House’s recent action shows that there is support for getting this bill done this session of Congress. Just to give you a heads up, we will be circulating a group sign-on letter to the Senate in the coming weeks that we’d like to have S.W.I.M. Storm Water Infrastructure Matters signed onto. In the mean time, it would be great to extend a thank you along to your member of congress if they were one of the 57 cosponsors of the House bill.

Again, thank you for S.W.I.M. Storm Water Infrastructure Matters continued support of the Act for Healthy Rivers and for reading the Slog. As always, please share your stories on the Slog about how you are fighting sewage in your community.

Until Next Time,

Josh Klein

Act for Healthy Rivers Coordinator

American Rivers


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