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E-M:/ Dingell Goes to Bat for the Clean Water Act

Enviro-Mich message from "Scott McEwen" <scott@watershedcouncil.org>

-----Original Message-----
From: swancc-admin@lists.nationalwildlife.org
[mailto:swancc-admin@lists.nationalwildlife.org]On Behalf Of Julie
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2003 3:15 PM
To: swancc@lists.nationalwildlife.org
Subject: A press event was held on Capital Hill on Thursday, February27
to reintroduce the Clean Water Autho

A press event was held on Capital Hill on Thursday, February 27 to
reintroduce the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act. 

Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Jeffords
(I- NH) and Representatives James Oberstar (D-MN), John Dingell (D-MI),
James Leach (R-I), and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) reintroduced legislation
to reaffirm Congress' intent to apply the Clean Water Act broadly to all
waters subject to Congress' authority.  The bills would delete the term
"navigable" from the Clean Water Act and replace it with "waters of the
United States." A definition of "waters of the United States," based on
the long-standing regulatory definition used by the Corps and EPA, would
be inserted into the Act.  

While the legislation was originally introduced to address the Supreme
Court's SWANCC decision, the need for this legislation has become more
acute as the Bush Administration seeks to distort the narrow court
ruling to remove many additional wetlands, streams, ponds and lakes from

Immediate Release:	Contact:
February 27, 2003	Julie Sibbing, 202-797-6832

Clean Water Authority Restoration Act of 2003 Promises to Safeguard
America's Waterways for People and Wildlife
Statement by Mark Van Putten, president of the National Wildlife
Federation on the introduction of the Clean Water Authority Restoration
Act of 2003.

"I would like to express our sincere appreciation of the efforts of
Reps. James Oberstar (D-MN), John Dingell (D-MI), Jim Leach (R-IA),
Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and Sens. Russ Feingold (D-WI), James Jeffords
(I-NH) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA). 

"The introduction of this legislation will help to ensure strong
federal protection for our nation's water resources and will help
guarantee that the multitude of benefits they provide people and
wildlife continue into the future.

"Although the Supreme Court's SWANCC decision was of serious
concern from an environmental perspective, it was a very narrow ruling.
The true new danger lies in the misinterpretation of this decision and
the Bush administration's recent efforts to use it as an opportunity
to further roll back Clean Water Act safeguards.

"Misinterpretations of the SWANCC decision have already put a
significant portion of our nation's wetlands and even many headwater
streams at risk. The administration itself estimates that protection
will be lost for more than 20 million acres of wetlands. These water
resources are not only threatened by development, but also from
industrial, residential and municipal discharges of pollution.

"While the immediate misinterpretations of SWANCC are of critical
concern, the administration's new rulemaking proposal has opened the
door to removing protections for even greater numbers of our nation's
wetlands, streams, lakes and ponds.

 "The administration's recent actions put our national water
resources like streams at serious risk and jeopardize their benefits to
people and wildlife. Without strong federal protection, America's
waters could become more polluted, flooding could increase, wildlife
habitat could be damaged or destroyed, drinking water availability and
quality could be compromised, and the public health could be threatened
by bacteria, pathogens, toxics and other pollutants that would have been
controlled under the Clean Water Act.

"With all these benefits to people and wildlife hanging in the
balance, our nation must not falter in its protection of America's
water resources. Our country's waters cannot be kept healthy and free
flowing for people and wildlife if only some of them are protected."

"We applaud the bi-partisan support for the Clean Water Authority
Restoration Act demonstrated here today. We call on Congress to reaffirm
its original intent to provide broad protection to waters of the United
States by passing the Act. In addition, we fully expect the
administration to commit to protecting all waterways within its legal
authority under the Clean Water Act."

The nation's largest member-supported conservation education and
advocacy group, the National Wildlife Federation unites people from all
walks of life to protect nature, wildlife and the world we all share. 
The Federation has educated and inspired families to uphold America's
conservation tradition since 1936.

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