Rep. Tim Holden (D-Pa.) said the EPA has imposed an "unachievable" one-size-fits-all water-quality standard in his state, and said he supports the GOP's bill.
"This bill restores the balance between the states and EPA as co-regulators under the Clean Water Act," Holden said. "States and local governments are dependent upon Congress to remove regulatory roadblocks to economic growth and job creation in local communities while protecting our vast natural resources."
Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) also spoke in favor of the bill.
The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act, H.R. 2018, is aimed at allowing states to set their own water quality standards, even in cases where these standards are not supported by the EPA. Republican supporters of the bill say the EPA has abandoned the concept of "cooperative federalism," and is essentially dictating policy to the states.
The House completed debate on the bill and amendments to the bill at about 4:30 p.m., and adjourned with the expectation of holding votes on nine of them later in the day.
One was accepted by voice vote. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) offered language requiring the EPA to submit to Congress a report on any increase in pathogenic microorganisms in waters regulated by a state under the bill. Republicans said they would accept the amendment if it were altered to require EPA to also report on any reduction in these microorganisms. Hanabusa agreed, and her amendment was accepted.