The first "Corrections Day" measure cleared the House Tuesday, giving Republicans an initial victory in their campaign to wipe out what they consider stupid or unnecessary federal rules. The bill would exempt San Diego from costly sewage-treatment standards.
"This is just the beginning," Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., said in celebrating the 269-156 vote to end what he called "grotesque over-requirements for San Diego." The bill now goes to the Senate.
"We've already been fighting this for 20 years," said San Diego Mayor Susan Golding, on hand for the vote. "I think San Diegans deserve some relief."
The city has argued that it would need to spend at least $2 billion to meet Clean Water Act requirements for sewage treatment that scientific studies had shown to be superfluous.
Under the act, cities must carry out both primary treatment, filtering out solid wastes, and meet secondary treatment standards by chemically treating bacteria and suspended solids.
But critics of the standards say they apply mainly to cities that discharge into rivers and lakes and are unneeded for coastal cities such as San Diego, which discharges treated waste 4 1/2 miles offshore in the Pacific at a depth of 300 feet. …