The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) (who will soon take over the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship from Rep. John Dingell of Michigan) and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) have released a report on their investigation into the drastic deterioration of the Clean Water Act enforcement program over the past two years.
The report documents hundreds of Clean Water Act violations that the EPA has not pursued with enforcement actions. And when the EPA does pursue enforcement, it often does so with informal responses, reduced civil penalties, and significant delays. The public doesn’t even learn about many violations because EPA investigations have been drastically reduced. The report features as a case study disturbing political interference over enforcement on the Santa Cruz River in Arizona. The full report is available online, along with a summary letter from Chairmen Waxman and Oberstar to President-elect Obama and over a hundred pages of supporting documentation. No big surprises given the political leadership at EPA for the past few years, but inexcusable nonetheless.