Merkley: Clean Water Bill to Restore Common Sense Approach to Waterway Protection

Washington, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley joined
his colleagues on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in
approving legislation to protect American waterways and restore the principles
of the original Clean Water Act of 1972.  Senator Merkley was an original
cosponsor of the Clean Water Restoration Act and worked with the committee to
make sure the bill would adequately protect rivers and streams across the
country and avoid inadvertently burdening small landowners or farmers who
historically were not subject to Clean Water Act regulations.

 “For years, the Clean Water Act provided common-sense
protections for water resources,” Merkley said.  “Recently, this important
environmental law has been undermined, putting many of the very places where
millions of Americans get their drinking water at risk.  The Clean Water
Restoration Act will restore the purpose of the original legislation and keep
our rivers and streams clean and safe.”

For most of the Clean Water Act’s 36-year history, it has
applied broadly to rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands.  In
decisions in 2001 and 2006, the Supreme Court significantly restricted which
waters could be protected, distorting the intent of legislation that had worked
well for so long.  Besides placing many bodies of water at risk of
contamination, the decisions inserted unnecessary government bureaucracy and
required that the EPA make an individual assessment of each body of water,
wasting staff time and taxpayer dollars and holding up the processing of

This legislation does not expand the scope of the Clean
Water Act, but simply restores the original intent of the Clean Water Act as it
was passed 36 years ago.

The Clean Water Restoration Act is supported by the
following organizations:

Agriculture and Farming

  • National Farmers Union
  • National Association of
    Wheat Growers
  • National Association of State Foresters

Hunting and Fishing

  • American Sportfishing
  • Delta Waterfowl
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Federation of Fly
  • National Wildlife
  • National Trappers
  • North American Bear
  • North American Grouse
  • Pheasants Forever
  • Quail Forever
  • Theodore Roosevelt
    Conservation Partnership
  • Trout Unlimited
  • Whitetails Unlimited
  • Wildlife Management
  • The Wildlife Society