Places Hold on Bill Expanding Federal Control of Water
Washington, DC. – Concerned about significant expansions in the power of the federal government, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo today voted against S. 787, the Clean Water Restoration Act, despite its passage by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). Crapo, a member of the Senate EPW Committee, also placed a “hold” on the bill, signaling his readiness to filibuster the bill if necessary.
“This bill threatens the current Clean Water Act statute and would allow for government regulation of virtually all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including rivers, intermittent streams, mudflats, sandflats, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds and others,” said Crapo. “It also would grant federal regulators new and expanded authority over activities affecting these waters, which has serious implications for commerce. I intend to use every tool and privilege afforded to slow or stop this ill-conceived attack on Idaho’s sovereignty over managing its water.”
S. 787 would eliminate the term “navigable” from the current Clean Water Act and substitute it with “waters of the United States.” Crapo continued, “By so doing, the Act goes beyond restoring the regulatory environment that existed before the Rapanos and SWANCC decisions. In fact, it expands the scope of the Act by changing the standard for triggering federal jurisdiction. I have grave reservations about fundamentally altering the intent and scope of the Clean Water Act, and I look forward to opposing this bill if it ever makes it to the floor of United States Senate.” Crapo was joined by his six Republican colleagues on the Committee in voting against this legislation.
The bill was introduced as a result of the Supreme Court rulings in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. Corps of Engineers in 2001 and Rapanos v. United States in 2006. The Court ruled in those cases that “navigable waters” only applies to large, continuously flowing bodies of water.