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Oberstar Introduces Clean Water Act in Time for Earth Day

Congressman Jim Oberstar introduced H.R. 5088 (America's Commitment to Clean Water Act) on Wednesday, April 21, 2010, just one day prior to Earth Day. The bill calls for reversing two decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2001 and 2006 that cut back the authority of the Clean Water Act in regulating lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands across the U.S and created confusion and uncertainty for communities, developers, and agricultural interests. The Court's prior decisions put water quality and water-related environments at risk. “We have 10,000 lakes in Minnesota; 40 percent of all the lakes and streams covered by the Clean Water Act remain in danger or polluted,” said Oberstar. The new bill is intended to restore the authority of the original Clean Water Act of 1972, which had no limits on the number of streams, lakes or shorelines to be protected. Oberstar introduced a similar bill in the last Congress, but it was stalled by a veto threat from the former White House administration. That bill gained wide support from environmental and sporting groups but elicited dissension from developers and private property rights groups. The new bill would not extend the scope of the Clean Water Act. “Simply put, if it was not regulated before 2001, it will not be regulated with the enactment of this legislation,” said Oberstar. Committee work on the bill is expected to begin before June and expects the legislation to win passage with bipartisan support on the House floor. A similar bill is expected to be considered by the full Senate this summer.

Posted on April 23, 2010

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