Oberstar Announces Legislation to Expand Clean Water Act Coverage
On April 21, Earth Day, Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) announced legislation to dramatically increase the scope of the Clean Water Act, bringing nearly every body of water – from irrigation canals and small ponds to seasonal mud-puddles – under the unlimited jurisdiction of the federal government. As the Forest Landowners Association (FLA) has previously reported, the legislation’s removal of the word “navigable” from the current definition of the Clean Water Act would effectively allow all waters of the United States to be subject to new and sweeping federal regulations and permitting.
The Ranking Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, John L. Mica (R-FL), and the Ranking Member of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, John Boozman (R-AR), released statements upon introduction of the legislation: “The Clean Water Act has successfully improved the quality of the nation’s waters, and we must ensure that the Act continues to work effectively. However, providing limitless federal jurisdiction over every water is not the answer,” Mica said. “Under this bill, existing state, local and private rights will be superseded by the vast authority of federal regulators,” said Boozman.
FLA will continue to monitor progress on this issue and keep our members informed. Look for an Action Alert from FLA asking you to lend your voice on this issue at the most impactful time.
To learn more about this issue, or others affecting private forest landowners, please contact Frank Stewart at FMS@Washington-Resource.com or (703) 549-0347.