Expert Comment: Clean Water Restoration Act Gives Federal Government Too Much Power

Published April 9, 2008

(Chicago, Illinois – April 9, 2008) The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is holding hearings today regarding the Clean Water Restoration Act, which would give the federal government regulatory authority over an unprecedented number of local, small-scale bodies of water.

The following comments on the proposal are from James M. Taylor, J.D., senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute. You may quote from this statement or contact him directly at [email protected], phone 941/776-5690.

“The federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act explicitly applies only to the nation’s ‘navigable waters.’ State and local governments rightfully retain jurisdiction over lesser bodies of water that have no legitimate federal interest.

“Not content with overzealous court rulings that have considered three-inch-deep seasonal creeks as navigable waters subject to federal rules and regulations, the Clean Water Restoration Act seeks to strip even the navigable waters requirement from federal jurisdiction.

“There would be no limit to the reach of federal power under the new bill. The last thing American citizens need is EPA bureaucrats asserting jurisdiction over seasonal puddles in people’s backyards, looking to file criminal charges every time somebody shores up a mucky depression to improve his land.”

For more on what the public thinks of Clean Water Act expansion, see “New Polls: Majority of Americans Oppose Expansion of Clean Water Act,” forthcoming in the May 2008 issue of Environment & Climate News and available online at

For more information about The Heartland Institute, please contact Harriette Johnson, media relations manager, at [email protected] or 312/377-4000.