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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1650 - Safe Drinking Water

June 14, 1985


(Rep. Madigan (R) Illinois)

The Administration strongly opposes enactment of H.R. 1650 because of the bill's:

— requirement to set standards for all substances, listed in two EPA advanced notices of proposed rulemaking (ANPRMs) if there is a "rational basis" to believe there may be any adverse health effect. This provision virtually eliminates the Administrator's ability not to regulate a substance that may pose an insignificant health risk;

— undesirable and costly groundwater and sole source aquifer programs ($30 million annually, FY 1986-87). These programs present an unwarranted Federal intrusion into sensitive local and State land use control and water use decisions;

— requirement for Federal enforcement of all violations not enforced by delegated States. Federal preemption runs counter to the purpose of delegation, to give States more responsibility for dealing with local problems, and could cause some States to abandon enforcement leaving it to EPA. Critical to the concept of delegation is that States remain able to exercise judgment as to the most effective enforcement strategy and that EPA be selective in dealing with State enforcement decisions;

— requirements for mandatory treatment by disinfection and development of criteria for requiring filtration, and the requirement that granular activated carbon automatically be considered a best available technology for controlling synthetic organic chemicals. Ample authority already exists to require whatever treatment process is determined to be appropriate in meeting the safe drinking water objective, based on a full analysis of the alternatives;

— total authorization level of $114 million which is $53 million more than the President's 1986 Budget request; and

— authorization of a new program to help small drinking water systems meet Federal standards. Regardless of the level authorized or the eligibility criteria, this new program would quickly grow completely out of control.

APP Note: Original document provided by Samuel Kernell, UC San Diego.

Ronald Reagan, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1650 - Safe Drinking Water Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project