S.787 - Clean Water Restoration Act

A bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify the jurisdiction of the United States over waters of the United States. view all titles (3)

All Bill Titles

  • Official: A bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify the jurisdiction of the United States over waters of the United States. as introduced.
  • Short: Clean Water Restoration Act as introduced.
  • Short: Clean Water Restoration Act as reported to senate.

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Displaying 1-30 of 49 total comments.

ColoradoPatriot 05/10/2009 4:33am

This is very dangerous legislation. I am appalled this was even introduced.

caferrell 05/09/2009 5:47am

This is a terrible bill that would give the Federal govt. jurisdiction over anything that is wet including seasonal mud flats. This means that the Feds could enter into your property and dictate what you can do with your land.

It also means that the Great Lake States and Provinces could not protect the Great Lakes from being pumped dry to feed the growth of California and the Southwest. In particularly that area, Feingold has sold out his own state: Wisconsin.

toray99 06/17/2009 10:42am

Bills such as these are why we need term limits on senate and representatives. Also random drug testing every quarter. I really think that senators and representatives should not be full time work. Part time have another career in the private sector. Too much time on their hands, too much tyranny.

jp215 05/10/2009 1:46am

trying to squeeze out farmers and ranchers?
This stinks of big business funding

Theultimateg 05/21/2009 12:30pm


STRIKER1776 05/15/2009 8:28am

This is Federal Land Grabbing…Trust the Goverment,Ask the Native Americans.

kevinmcc 06/26/2009 8:48am

You need to be responsible for your runoff and pollution. This bill is very much needed. @Dcoery33 not voting for this bill is voting for Corporations. So many companies are getting away with polluting our waterways. They will say to vote no on this bill. They do not want to put in the measures needed to control their pollution. We need to protect fresh water, our wet lands and habitats from pollution at all cost.

drewfus 12/15/2009 3:03pm
in reply to Mcbee Oct 30, 2009 12:36pm

Actually, Mcbee, you DO in fact have to claim an injury in order to file a citizen suit under ยง 505 of the Clean Water Act. The Act cannot abrogate the requirements of Article III standing; plaintiffs must meet the requirements of showing (1) injury in fact, (2) that their injury was caused by the defendant, and (3) that a federal court can provide a remedy. In fact, the Supreme Court has been very careful not to throw federal courts wide open to environmental litigtation. Take a look at Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555 (1992), to see what I mean.

Injo503 11/09/2009 11:36am

The intent of this bill is to restore protections for rivers, streams and wetlands that may be subject to question due to the recent Supreme Court rulings in SWANCC and Rapanos.

Get your facts straight.

Injo503 11/23/2009 3:54pm

This does not just concern land that is soggy for a few months. It concerns permanent creeks, small waterways, marsh lands, and swamps that are currently not protected but were before 2002. And yes, it protects seasonal waterways as well. Seasonal waterways does not mean the puddle in your backyard or the 6ft stream coming from your gutter downspouts. Anybody saying so is exaggerating. Seasonal waterways includes creeks that run for a few months a year. This could be from snow melt or during periods of heavy rainfall. Almost all of these connect to larger bodies of water, sometimes through the underground water table. Isolated waterways that do not connect to larger bodies of water are not going to be covered. And the most important thing to remember is that this bill is NOT expanding the clean water act. It is simply bringing the clean water act back to the way it was from 1972-2002. If you did not have any problems in this time then NOTHING will change for you.

pmacqster 11/18/2009 9:20pm

Firstly the wording in this bill needs significant work – however I agree with the intent. I think people need to stop the senseless “government takeover” nonsense and look at what this bill is really trying to accomplish – protection of water resources in this country. If private owners were meeting their responsibilities, there wouldn’t be a need for expanded regulation – which is what this bill does. As a nation we need to move beyond the “what’s mine” mentality and recognize that water is of such importance that we need to do more to protect it. I’m not saying the federal government is always the best protector, but our EPA does have enforcement capability – and we need it.

Injo503 11/05/2009 11:35am

If you click on the money trail tab on this website its pretty easy to see who is opposing and supporting this bill. Here is what it states.

Specific Organizations Supporting S.787

Ducks Unlimited
American Whitewater
League of Conservation Voters
American Rivers
Clean Water Action
Sierra Club
U.S. Public Interest Research Groups
Natural Resources Defense Council
Environment America
National Wildlife Federation
Southern Environmental Law Center

Specific Organizations Opposing S.787

National Mining Association
National Corn Growers Association

Injo503 11/09/2009 11:36am

This bill does not expand the clean water act. It just restores it back to the way it was in the 80’s and 90’s. The only farmers this bill will affect are the factory farmers that wish to dump huge amounts of toxins directly into the water. The bottom line is that if you were able to farm before without issue then this will not affect you.

The Clean Water act of 1972 was hailed as a great environmental success and many other countries have copied these standards and are still using them to this day. Some countries have even tighter regulation.
During the Bush administration there were a couple court decisions that changed the way it was interpreted and this essentially gutted the Clean Water Act allowing unlimited dumping into any waterways that are not considered navigable even if these waterways directly feed the great lakes or other important bodies of water.

JFS_PA 07/15/2009 4:11am

Before you panic, or pass on the received wisdom from some politician or PAC, read the darn bill, and look over the history. Have you read sections 3-13, 3-14, and all of section 6? If so, you’ll see that existing agricultural use is exempted from this bill (and regulated, as always, by a different set of regulations). And the states retain control over the land and the waterways—they can meet federal standards as they (and their citizens) see fit.

This bill resets the status quo to the way it was from 1972 through 2000 (or really, through 2005, when the Rapanos / SWANCC decision upset 30 years of interpretation and introduced an entirely novel redefinition of the law as applying only to navigable waterways).

If you feel we were a Communist nation until 2000, your inflated rhetoric about this “land grab” is consistent. If, like most US citizens, you feel that the USA was the USA during this period, you might want to moderate your reactions.

jjenks88 02/15/2010 9:33am
in reply to kevinmcc Jun 26, 2009 9:13am

Maybe that is what it is intended for but what I don’t think that you understand on the farmer/rancher’s part is that the change in this bills wording,(changing the word navigable to US Waters), would allow the EPA to have control of basically all waters in the US, including farm ponds or cattle watering ponds. And what worries us about that is the fact that the EPA is basically unregulated, I am meaning that there is no one that really controls them. This means that the EPA could require every pond, slough, stream, creek, basically every body of water to have buffer strips, setbacks of so many feet, etc. They could do almost anything that they want, and quite frankly I do not think that many at the EPA have any idea what some of these things could mean for farms and ranches.

Agronomist/Farm Supplier

Mcbee 05/25/2010 3:15pm
in reply to kbthiede Jan 29, 2010 10:16am
Define “poison”? Under the current CWA, “pollutants” include sand, dirt and rocks. However, the CWA does not include E-coli, bacteria, oil from storm drains or raw sewerage from “recreational watercraft” (these are exempt). There are no “limits” (parts per million) similar to the Clean Air Act; therefore any amount of zinc, copper, or even round-up is illegal to use in or near drainage ditches. Oddly, municipalities are exempt from poisoning streams with pharmaceuticals discharged from sewerage plants. A new energy technology growing E-coli in holding ponds, is exempt from the CWA. This while any property owner grading his land or altering a drainage ditch could be criminally charged under this ridiculous expansion of the Clean Water Act. Our waters should be clean, but this alteration of the CWA is nothing more than a property grab for federal agencies and the special interests that control them.
Mcbee 04/22/2010 12:44pm
The bill does not just protect water quality, if it did I would be arguing for the bill. The bill seeks to claim lands and waters that are currently private property. The bill could be fixed to NOT GRAB property…but then it would be a pointless bill.
Mcbee 10/30/2009 12:36pm
This bill should be hailed as the Environmental-Lawyer Employment Act. Under the CWA anyone can file suit against anyone with claims of polluting public waters. Under the new bill all land that is moist for a few hours a year will be considered a public waterway. Any litigious zealot can bring a neighbor to court because he/she uses weed killer in HIS drainage ditch. You would not even need to claim injury, just claim the person is polluting the “public water” that flows through his drainage ditch. Does anyone else see the shortsightedness of this bill?? The ripple effect this bill will have throughout the federal and state years of legal statutes will take years to unravel. It will be the biggest waste of money and time the judiciary has ever seen. Most water law is under state jurisdiction and those laws (which in SC alone are thousands of pages) will be a SNAFU lasting decades and costing Trillions to resolve. What a ridiculous law!!!!!!!!!
Injo503 11/23/2009 3:55pm

And to those who claim this is a land grab? How on earth could you think this? The clean water act allows the EPA or army corps of engineers to decide what you can dump in the water and how much. It does not allow them to take your land. Where would you get this ludicrous idea?

kbthiede 09/17/2009 2:31pm

I don’t think many of you understand the intent of the bill.

Many of the corporations you are blaming for this bill are getting away with environmentally destructive practices because the government only has jurisdiction over “navigable waters” and so they can dump their mining waste and other harmful materials as “fill” into areas where it can flow into a larger water source.

The government neither cares about controlling homeowners property or that of small rancher nor does it have the resources to do so.

This bill was introduced as a method to curb mountaintop removal, which is a very destructive form of mining which ruins the natural beauty of the appalaichians and I support this bill.

Mcbee 10/30/2009 12:16pm
in reply to toray99 Jun 17, 2009 10:42am
You should not be so naive about the true intention of this bill. The goal of the bill is to expand government jurisdiction to all land that water might flow across (even temporarily) or remain damp longer than a few minutes. The 1976 CWA currently protects all waters and headwater streams; these sensitive areas are already protected from pollution even though the land is privately owned. This new bill Claims the water by changing the definition of all surface water to read “Waters OF the United States”; the key word is “OF” (a possessive). The bill shifts the water, and land over which it flows, from private property to being a free-for-all public quagmire, over peoples yards and under many state laws considered “public highways”. The bill is a WOLF that being pushed by the uninformed Lemmings that think they are saving the world.
kevinmcc 06/26/2009 9:19am
in reply to Theultimateg May 21, 2009 12:30pm

About regulation, not ownership.

You own the water way, but you do not have the right to do as you please to the water. Eventually that water will end up in other waterways. This bill is about pollution and polluters and regulating what they can do to waterways, not a land grab.

Dcorey33 06/25/2009 4:52am

To all who have commented,

I must agree with you. Recently I have woken up to things that are truly scary for Americans. This Bill being one of them. Its shows you that America is not America anymore. Its becoming a Corporation more and more every day. Soon because of Bills like this we will not have control over anything we own or have worked hard for. I completely oppose this Bill and hope that it is rejected.

dmbleess 07/02/2009 3:09pm

There are already laws regarding pollution. This is a law designed to further regulate small farmers and personal property out of existence. It is designed to ENHANCE the consolodation and incorporation of large farming operations at the expense of the small traditional family farms. Despite the sunshine being blown up everyone’s pants, the ABUSE of the law has to be considered because THAT is how it will be enforced when politics become involved. Low income, effectively defenseless, farms and other small struggling businesses will be run out of business by these regulations because they will not have the income and resources to accomodate and incorporate them inth their operations. Large corporations have been hiding behind these same sorts of regulations for years to create an unfair environment that prevents new competition from being created or growing to become a threat.

JFS_PA 07/15/2009 4:11am

BTW, This bill is not an anti-rain-barrel bill. It’s not about the low spot on your back 40 (which is already exempted under the “pre-existing agriculture” clause). The wording about seeps and intermittent streams exists because there are states where the land is so dry that basically all ponds and streams dry up for at least a few weeks of the year—or even a few months—yet those streams and ponds are the key water source for people and animals.

If you want to improve this bill, ask your legislator to include further clarifications, so that legitimate protections for wetlands and for “resource” intermittent streams and ponds is even more clearly NOT directed at every low spot that briefly holds water in a moist area of the country.

AlmostFreeAmerican 10/20/2009 7:14am

The bill is alone is prima facie evidense of how corrupt our ‘representatives’ are for it is unconstitutional at its very foundation. Similar to the concept of eminent domain, it is nothing more than the government attempting, once again, to take control of private property.

The government does NOT have the constitutional right to make laws regarding water, kbthiede! The very act of introducing this bill is an act of treason (read Constitutional law Title 18, US Code Sec.2381)
“In the presents of two or more witnesses of the same overt act, or in an open court of law, if you fail to timely move to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and honor your oath of office, you are subject to the charge of capitol felony treason.”

The sponsor of this bill has done just that!

kfeeney 07/29/2009 6:53am

I don’t know if anyone has ever heard of a watershed but every little river and stream that some of you folks think it is so dangerous to protect eventually flows into a larger body of water, soaks into an underground aquifer, reservoirs, etc where we get our drinking water… or it runs into the Ocean where we fish and swim. This bill will benefit public health and the health of the environment. We only have so much water on this earth and we cannot create more. In NJ, for example 3 out of every 4 bodies of water are too polluted to fish or swim in. Thank God Obama is fixing all of Bush’s dangerous and scary environmental policy by reinstoring the initial intention of the Clean Water Act.

Reason 12/28/2009 9:05am
in reply to AlmostFreeAmerican Oct 20, 2009 7:14am

Yes, the congress has the power to regulate water, as it can have a cumulative effect on the interstate commerce. Throwing loaded words like “treason” around because you disagree is simply dangerous hyperbole designed to incite. Buy a constitution and a dictionary before you accuse our duly elected representatives of fabricated crimes.

ndrai3gsx 01/23/2010 9:48am
in reply to Mcbee Nov 22, 2009 1:26pm

Quit trying to twist the facts by hiding behind what you declare to be “inappropriate” or “inaccurate” phraseology. If you’re not willing to read these bills with an open mind, and not with this Governmental Conspiracy Theory attached to everything that you read, see, and say. “Scare tactic” yeah right, and I’m the boogie man.

ndrai3gsx 01/23/2010 9:54am

All of you conspiracy theroist’s should back up and take a look at how goofy you make each other sound. Every one of you are trying to hide behind words that you think makes yourself look imprtant.

There has been a bill like this in place already, and its time is nearly run out. This bill Reintroduces that original bill. If you all hate America so much that you want to see her polluted and messed up by toxins that slowly strangles the life out of the people living here, then move to another country. From there you’d have a better chance of getting your way.

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