Senate Committee to Consider Wetlands Jurisdiction Expansion Bill

April 30, 2009
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is scheduled to consider a bill next Thursday that would expand federal jurisdiction over waters and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.  The bill, S. 787, the Clean Water Restoration Act, would create a new legislative definition of "waters of the United States" that would essentially be limitless and would greatly increase the circumstances under which contractors would be required to obtain and be regulated by federal Clean Water Act permits (e.g., section 404 permits). AGC is opposed to the legislation, which would create the greatest expansion of the Clean Water Act since it was signed into law in 1972.  The legislation would expand the federal role beyond protecting wetlands and waters having an understandable "significant nexus" to navigable waters and regulate everywhere that rainwater happens to flow, including roadside ditches.  The legislation would give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency jurisdiction over all wet areas - however remote or intermittent - and over all activities (e.g., construction) affecting those waters.  The federal permitting process would increase the cost of maintaining and delay necessary improvement of public and private infrastructure.  AGC believes Congress should not rush to expand the scope of the Clean Water Act.  Instead, Congress should preserve the role that states and localities have traditionally played.  States and local authorities should lead the regulation of land and water use, not the federal government.  AGC asks you to contact your Senators to urge them to oppose the Clean Water Restoration Act.  To contact your Senators, you may use AGC's Legislative Action Center.
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