Dive Into Democracy | April Congressional Recess

Dive Into Democracy citizen suits Waterkeeper Alliance congressional recess

The April congressional recess starts today and hopefully you’ve had a chance to locate the town halls hosted by your Members of Congress (MoCs). If not, you can check here and here, or search on your MoCs’ websites using the tool at the bottom of this post.

Going to a town hall gives you an excellent opportunity to tell your MoC why clean water is so important to you and ask them what they will do to protect it. We’ve put together a few questions for you to ask – the more you can personalize your message to reflect why you care about the issue and how it impacts the needs of your community, the better.

My name is [NAME] and I live in [TOWN, STATE]. I wanted to ask you today about your commitment to protecting clean water. Healthy waterways are essential for healthy communities. [Give a personal, specific example of why clean water is so important to you and your community.] I am very concerned about the prioritization of polluting industries over clean water.

Questions to ask:

  • Federal Budget: Taking an Ax to EPA
    President Trump’s proposed budget would slash EPA’s funding by a third. Before EPA existed, environmental protection was left to the states, which could not adequately protect the public from pollution. Polluting industries exposed the public to dangerous chemicals, air pollution-choked cities, and companies used our waterways as toxic waste dumps. We are still dealing with this legacy pollution across our country today. A lot of work is needed to make [YOUR LOCAL WATERWAY] drinkable, fishable, and swimmable. It is vital that you speak up on behalf of clean water and the people in [YOUR DISTRICT or STATE] that rely on it. What will you do to make sure EPA gets the budget it needs to keep [YOUR WATERWAY] clean and our community safe?
  • Attacking the Clean Water Act
    Proposed bill H.R. 1261 would vastly limit the waters protected from pollution by the Clean Water Act and make polluters less accountable. This will directly affect the health and well-being of our families and our communities. Protecting clean water is one of the fundamental responsibilities we have to future generations. Meanwhile, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is already starting the process to roll back the Clean Water Rule and reduce our clean water protections. It is vital that you speak up on behalf of clean water and the people in [YOUR STATE].  What will you do to prevent rollbacks of the Clean Water Act?
    [Look up whether your representative sponsored or cosponsored H.R. 1261 here]
  • H.R. 1179: We Pollute, You Pay
    The citizen suit provision is a vital aspect of the Clean Water Act because it gives citizens and groups the ability to bring polluters to court when our waters are being contaminated. H.R. 1179 would threaten this provision by forcing people that take legal action to face the possibility of financial ruin if they end up losing the case for any reason. I am asking you to speak up on behalf of clean water and the people in [YOUR DISTRICT] that rely on it. Will you vote to preserve the public’s right to hold polluters accountable?
    [Look up whether your representative sponsored or cosponsored H.R. 1179 here]

If you talk to your MoC at a town hall about clean water, we want to hear about it! Send us an email and let us know what you said and what their response was! And if your MoC did not hold a town hall, be sure to call them and tell them how disappointed you are with their decision and deliver your clean water message to them over the phone.

Want to learn more about being involved this congressional recess? Check out this handy guide.

Find contact info for your MoCs here:

Locate your Senators and Representative

ex: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC 20500

About Waterkeeper

United as one powerful force, Waterkeeper Alliance fights for every community's right to drinkable, fishable, swimmable water. For more information please visit waterkeeper.org