Western lawmakers oppose CWRA

Western lawmakers oppose CWRA

Dec 10, 2009 11:07 AM

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., members of the House and Senate Western Caucuses cited concerns over job loss and regulatory overreach in expressing their strong objections to the Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA) (S. 787).

The letter, signed by 11 Western senators and 17 Western House members, stated, “In the West … where the frontier spirit of smaller government and individual liberty are still sacred traditions, there is overwhelming objection to this bill. We strongly object to any attempt to move this legislation, either as a stand alone bill or as an attachment to a bill, in the Senate or House of Representatives. More specifically, we cannot imagine any bill so important that we could support it with the Clean Water Restoration Act attached.”

The CWRA seeks to expand the jurisdictional sweep of the Clean Water Act, introduced in 1972, by granting the federal government authority over all U.S. waterways. Most notably, S. 787 removes the requirement that regulated waterways be “navigable,” as originally stated in the Clean Water Act. The deletion of the word “navigable” will allow all inland waters to be subject to federal regulation.

The letter further stated, “this legislation would grant the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, virtually unlimited regulatory control over all wet areas within a state. This bill attempts to trump state’s rights and pre-empts state and local governments from making local land and water use decisions. This bill will also build an even more expensive, cumbersome bureaucracy which will increase delays in securing permits and will slow or stop vital economic activities all across the country. Commercial and residential real estate development, agriculture, electric transmission, transportation and mining will all be effected. Thousands of jobs will be lost.”