Clean Water Acts

This afternoon I’ll be going out to Old Farm Road for a party at David’s co-hosted by Lucy who’s in from Colorado for a month.

Am working on a piece for LLRX on the Clean Water Protection Act and also the Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007, H.R. 2421, which Jim Oberstar (D-MN), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced and referred to his committee May 22 with a whopping 157 co-sponsors, with 161 as of June 7.) The measure amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify the jurisdiction of the United States , replacing “navigable waters” with “waters of the United States” which means

all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments of the foregoing, to the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting these waters, are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution.

The measure, first introduced in 2003, sets out to reverse U.S. Supreme Court erosion of the Clean Water Act in cases such as the ruling in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. United States (SWANCC ) , which removed federal protection of “isolated” waters based solely on their use by migratory birds. The consolidated cases of Carabell v. United States and Rapanos v. United States decided in June 2006 also eroded wetland protections. The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers issued joint gudance on June 5, 2007,

The measure is supported by environmental and citizens groups such as Riverkeeper, U.S. PIRG, Natural Resources Defense Fund, EarthJustice, National Wildlife Federation, Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, Sierra Club,

The measure is opposed as usurping local control by the National Water Resources Associations, a nonprofit federation which includes rural water districts, municipal water entities, commercial companies and individuals. as well as the National Association of Counties. the National Corn Growers Association and others.

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