The battle over federal jurisdiction of water and lands under the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act is expected to be taken to the floor of the U.S. Senate as early as next week. The debate has raged between Congress and the Obama Administration since the defeat of the expansive Clean Water Restoration Act, authored by former Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar and former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. (That is a lot of formers.)
Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued an administrative proposal to expand federal Clean Water Act powers without the consent of Congress. Because there is water almost everywhere in Minnesota, there is no one in the state that would be unaffected by this unprecedented power grab.
A bi-partisan bill to rein in EPA regulatory powers was passed by the House this summer, in addition to a bill that would prevent the Corps of Engineers from spending taxpayer money on the proposed expansion of federal jurisdiction.
Similar language is expected to be offered on the senate floor in the form of an amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill by Wyoming Senator John Barrasso and Nevada Senator Dean Heller.
This is encouraging. Stay tuned!
November 21, 2011