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

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

EPW Committee Passes Legislation to Protect Drinking Water Sources and Eliminate Unnecessary Government Bureaucracy

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 permits.

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