The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to retain language that would protect from lawsuits manufacturers of the water contaminant MTBE, a gasoline additive.

The chemical has seeped into municipal water supplies in all 50 states through leaky underground tanks, rendering the water undrinkable. MTBE is a suspected cancer-causing agent.

If the wording stands, responsibility for the massive clean-up effort will fall upon communities large and small; a prospect that could impose impossible financial burdens for many.

Once again, existing POU/POE "final barrier"