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EPW Republicans Call for Hearing on Wetlands before Committee Mark-up
April 30, 2009

Contact: Matt_Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202)224-9797

EPW Republicans Call for Hearing on Wetlands before Committee Mark-up

Link to Letter 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, along with Republican members of the EPW Committee, today sent a letter to the Chairman of the EPW Committee, Senator Barbara Boxer, requesting that S. 787, the Clean Water Restoration Act, receive a legislative hearing prior to any consideration in a Committee Business Meeting. The bill is intended to reverse the SWANCC and Rapanos decisions issued by the United States Supreme Court.  S. 787  includes an overly broad statutory definition of “waters of the United States,” which, in effect, would lead to massive federal regulation of nearly any wet area in the nation, affecting farmers, municipalities, home construction, and private property owners.

“EPW Committee Republicans believe there are numerous concerns regarding S. 787 that should be considered before moving this legislation out of Committee,” Senator Inhofe said. “A committee hearing is the best place to allow all members to raise questions and hear from experts on this legislation. Importantly, there is no consensus amongst scholars and stakeholders as to exactly what this legislation would do.  Without a legislative hearing to consider the various potential impacts, the Committee, Congress, and the public will be denied an opportunity to understand what this legislation does, who it will effect, and how it would change the scope of the Clean Water Act.” 

Full Text of Letter Below:

Dear Chairman Boxer:

As members of the Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), we are requesting that S. 787, the Clean Water Restoration Act, receive a legislative hearing prior to any consideration in a Committee Business Meeting.

The Clean Water Restoration Act is intended to reverse the SWANCC and Rapanos decisions issued by the United States Supreme Court (January 9, 2003 and June 19, 2006, respectively), which would provide a broad statutory definition of “waters of the United States,” among other things.  While this legislation did receive a legislative hearing in the Committee last Congress, given that the Committee has several new members, we believe a second hearing is necessary. 

The Clean Water Restoration Act has generated considerable controversy in our states and throughout the country.  While the intent of the legislation is clear, its effects are far from certain and there are several potential unintended consequences that deserve the full attention of the Committee and the Congress.  Specifically, while proponents claim that this legislation would simply reverse the SWANCC and Rapanos decisions, there is no consensus amongst scholars, stakeholders, other entities as to exactly what this legislation would do.  Without a legislative hearing to consider the various potential impacts, the Committee, Congress, and the public will be denied an opportunity to understand what this legislation does, who it will effect, and how it would change the scope of the Clean Water Act. 

As such, we respectfully ask that the Committee hold a legislative hearing on the Clean Water Restoration Act.   

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April 2009 Press Releases

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