Clean Water Act
by Oregonians for Food and Shelter 3/2/07
Thanks to the Oregon Farm Bureau for passing this
along to us.
Please call your Congressman ASAP and request they not
support Congressman Oberstar's Clean Water legislation
(HR 1356). See details below. We've attached the
position of the American Farm Bureau. I've also
included (at the end of this email) an article about
former Congressman Richard Pombo.
ACTION: CLEAN WATER ACT ISSUE:
Congressman James Oberstar is circulating draft
legislation to amend the federal Clean Water Act and
reportedly expand its jurisdiction. We have not seen a
copy of the draft but have reason to believe that it
is very similar to the bill (H.R. 1356) he introduced
The previous Oberstar bill eliminated the word
“navigable” from the definition of “waters of the
United States.” If such a proposal were to become law,
the result would be the most significant legislative
expansion of the Clean Water Act since its adoption in
1972. Rep. Oberstar is now reportedly circulating the
bill to obtain as large a number of bipartisan
cosponsors as possible before the bill’s introduction.
A vote in 2005 on the House floor indicates that there
may well be 200 members who would consider supporting
such an approach.
Among other things, the text of the previous Oberstar
bill provides explicitly that “all interstate and
intrastate waters and their tributaries” are subject
to Clean Water Act regulation, “including lakes,
rivers, streams (including intermittent streams),
mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie
potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds . .
.” By using the term “including” the bill would likely
be read by courts and federal agencies to mean the
listed types of waters are simply examples and not a
non-exclusive list. Therefore, ditches, pipes,
man-made ponds, ephemeral drainages, desert washes,
wet-farmland, drain tiles, treatment ponds and other
features could be regulated as “intrastate waters”
even though they
re not on the list.
We urge all State Farm Bureaus to contact their House
delegations and request that they not sponsor the
Oberstar measure. We will examine and evaluate the
bill and its impact on agriculture and provide that to
the states in the near future.