Inside Politics

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ENVIRONMENT

House votes to limit EPA’s clean-water role

The Republican-controlled House passed a bill Wednesday that would sharply curtail the federal government’s role in protecting waters from pollution by barring the Environmental Protection Agency from overruling state decisions on water quality.

The bill passed on a 239-184 vote. Sixteen Democrats joined the majority of Republicans in supporting it. The White House threatened to veto the bill, saying it “would roll back the key provisions … that have been the underpinning of 40 years of progress in making the nation’s waters fishable, swimmable and drinkable.”

Under the Clean Water Act, states have primary responsibility for protecting waterways after the EPA signs off on their plans. But the agency can step in if it thinks water resources aren’t being adequately protected.

The measure strips the EPA of that oversight authority. Drafters of the bill said Wednesday that the goal was to restore cooperation between the federal government and the states, and to rein in an agency that they argue is running roughshod over states’ rights for a political agenda that kills jobs and harms the economy.

ELECTION 2012

RNC to air anti-Obama ads in four states

LANSING, Mich. — The Republican National Committee has announced plans to air a TV ad in Michigan and three other key states critical of President Obama’s handling of the economy.

The RNC said Wednesday the 60-second “Change Direction” spot will be seen on cable and broadcast outlets in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Hampshire, states the GOP points out supported the Democratic presidential nominee in both 2004 and 2008.

The party began airing a similarly themed ad last week as well.

The RNC says it wants voters to be aware of what it calls Mr. Obama’s “abysmal economic record.”

Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse says that while the president “continues to fight to clean up a mess that was years in the making,” Republicans “are playing politics with our economy.”

FIRST LADY

Mrs. Ford mourned at presidential museum

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