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E-M:/ Congressman Dingell speaks out on

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>

At a press conference today in Washington, Congressman John Dingell spoke
out in support of legislation to correct a Supreme Court decision (the
SWANCC case) that drastically undercuts the authority under the Clean Water
Act to protect critical wetlands and smaller waterways.  Mr. Dingell
reportedly accused the Supreme Court of "slovenly thinking" in the SWANCC
case and said the Bush administration should be ashamed of itself.

Please be sure to thank the Congressman for speaking out on this critical
issue!  We are desperately in need of such leadership in the face of the
Bush Administration assault on all aspects of environmental protection.

Anne Woiwode

For Immediate Release										Contact:
February 27, 2003								        Ed Hopkins, 202-675-7908

Sierra Club Urges Americans To Ask their Members of Congress to Support
Clean Water Legislation

Washington, DC: The Sierra Club today applauded the introduction of the
"Clean Water Authority Restoration Act of 2003" as an important step for
safeguarding wetlands, small streams and ponds from mining and other
industrial waste dischargers and developers. These waterbodies perform
critically important functions, including storing floodwater, filtering
pollution, replenishing groundwater and providing habitat for birds, fish
and other wildlife.

"This bill clarifies that Congress intends for Clean Water Act protection to
extend to all of the nation's waters, including the so-called isolated
wetlands, streams, ponds and other waterbodies that play such an integral
role in our environment," said Carl Pope, Executive Director.  "Allowing
pollution of a seemingly-isolated stream is likely to result in pollution of
groundwater or downstream waters.  These waters are really not isolated, and
if we want to minimize flooding, have clean water, and provide habitat to
the many species that depend on our waters, we should safeguard all the
nationís waters."

The bill is a response to a Supreme Court ruling in 2001 which dealt a
serious blow to the protection of the nation's waters by narrowing federal
authority to control water pollution in seasonal wetlands and other waters
that lack permanent surface connections to flowing waters, including prairie
potholes, playa lakes, vernal pools, Carolina Bays, and intermittent and
ephemeral streams.

The Supreme Court ruling in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County
(SWANCC) v. Army Corps of Engineers overturned the federal government's
long-held authority under the Clean Water Act to protect non-navigable,
intrastate, isolated wetlands, streams and other waterbodies from pollution
based on their use by migratory birds. The Court's 5-4 majority opinion went
beyond the ruling by throwing into question whether federal Clean Water Act
protections apply to any wetlands, streams and other waters that may be
considered isolated. In the wake of confusion created by the Court's
opinion, varying interpretations have been applied by the agencies and in
the courts. In some areas of the country, the ruling was seen as setting
aside federal protection of waterbodies that are not immediately adjacent to
rivers and streams used for navigation.

Last month, the Bush Administration issued policy guidance and an Advance
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that go beyond the Supreme Courtís decision in
narrowing the scope of the Clean Water Act.  The EPA has estimated that the
guidance could remove Clean Water Act protection from as much as 20 percent,
or some 20 million acres, of the nation's wetlands. This estimate does not
even consider the additional extent of streams, ponds and other waters that
industry is likely to claim are "isolated" and unprotected.

The Sierra Club welcomed the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act of 2003
as a critical step to restore broad protection from uncontrolled discharges
of pollution and filling of wetlands. The Sierra Club urges citizens to call
their members of Congress and ask them to support this important bill.


Anne Woiwode, Staff Director, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48906
517-484-2372; fax 517-484-3108  anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org
visit the Mackinac Chapter on the web at http://michigan.sierraclub.org

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