1992 Scorecard Vote
Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) offered an amendment to the VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations bill to suspend much of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The Domenici amendment would eviscerate existing national standards for over 50 toxic and cancer-causing chemicals in all public drinking water systems in the United States. The amendment would eliminate the standards for PCBs, dioxin nitrates, and dozens of other harmful chemicals.
The amendment was proposed even though no hearings were held on it and despite opposition from a bipartisan group of Senators from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the SDWA. This measure would leave regulatory agencies with an outdated and ineffective measure of potability to apply to tap water, suspending not only regulations but also the right of all Americans to clean drinking water.
However, Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), John Chafee (R-RI), and David Durenberger (R-MN), with the support of many other Senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced a second-degree alternative amendment to Senator Domenici's moratorium bill. The Lautenberg-Chafee-Durenberger compromise would: (a) require a comprehensive review of the costs and benefits of the drinking water law; (b) give small systems a break on several monitoring requirements; and (c) delay the issuance of the new drinking water rules for radon and several other radioactive contaminants to allow time for further study.
The vote is on Senator Domenici's motion to table (kill) the compromise amendment to the Domenici amendment. The Domenici motion was defeated 43-53 on September 9, 1992. NO is the pro-environment vote. The Domenici amendment as amended by the Lancenberg-Chafee-Durenberger amendment was subsequently adopted by voice vote.