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Land Rights Network
Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604

Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973
E-mail: alra@pacifier.com
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Senate EPW Committee Passes Clean Water Land Grab (S 787)

Thursday, June 18, 2009 the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed S 787 as the Baucus- Klobuchar Substitute by a strictly party line vote of 12 Democrats to 7 Republicans.  

The Committee voted to take out the limitation in the Clean Water Act requiring the Corps of Engineers (Corps) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate only navigable waters. 

The modified version of S 787 gives the Corps and EPA the authority to regulate all waters of the United States.  The Committee tried a trick by taking out the reference to “all activities affecting these waters” but everyone agrees that because of terminology elsewhere in the bill, the courts will still rule that the Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency will have the authority to regulate all activities affecting all waters of the United States.

The EPW Committee voted to overturn the Rapanos and SWANCC Supreme Court Decisions of 2006 and 2001 which required the Corps and EPA to only regulate “Navigable” waters. 

As passed, “the term `waters of the United States' means all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, and natural ponds, all tributaries of any of the above waters, and all impoundments of the forgoing.’

You can see the full markup (vote) (called a Business Meeting) by going to the Senate Environment and Public Works website at http://epw.senate.gov/     Look for the Committee Business Meeting on June 18th.

Below is a one page release by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association that is very much worth your read. 

Also below is a full list of the EPW Committee Members.  It is critical that you write them new letters reflecting the new version of the bill.  You can see the full text of the Baucus-Klobuchar Substitute of S 787 as voted out of the EPW Committee by going to www.landrights.org.

Their phones and fax machines must ring off the hook.   You can get e-mail addresses by calling your Senator and asking for the staff person who handles the Environment and Public Works Committee.  Ask for his or her e-mail address.   

Send a new letter opposing the bill to your Senators and the Senators on the Committee referencing S 787 as passed out of the EPW Committee on June 18th.  It is important to write a new letter because otherwise Chairman Barbara Boxer will say that your letter applies to the old bill before the vote on June 18th.  That is the trick she used today at the vote meeting. 

It is very important to write a new letter referencing the June 18th vote to both your Senators plus the Ranking Member of the EPW Committee.  He is:

Honorable James Inhofe, Ranking Member, Environment and Public Works Committee, US Senate, Washington, DC 20210.  You can fax it to (202)  224-5167.

You can write any senator at:  Honorable ________________, US Senate, Washington, DC 20510. 

Call, fax and e-mail a new message to your Senators and the Senators on the EPW Committee.   

You can call all Senators on the EPW Committee at (202) 224-3121 or their individual offices listed below.

EPW Comm: Democrats…PH:  202-224-8832…Fax:  224-1273   

Barbara Boxer, CA (Chair)…Ph: 202-224-3553…Fax 224-1454     

Max Baucus, MT…Ph:  202-224-2651…Fax 224-9412                 

Thomas Carper, DE…Ph:  202-224-2441…Fax 228-2190

Frank Lautenberg NJ…Ph:  202-224-3224…Fax 228-4054

Benjamin Cardin, MD…Ph:  202-224-4524…Fax 224-1651

Bernard Sanders, VT (Ind)…Ph:  202-224-5141…Fax 228-0776

Amy Klobuchar, MN…Ph:  202-224-3244…Fax 228-2186

Sheldon Whitehouse, RI…Ph:  202-224-2921    Fax 228-6362

Tom Udall, NM…Ph:  202-224-6621…Fax 228-3261

Jeff Merkley OR…Ph:  202-224-3753…Fax 228-3997

Kirsten Gillibrand, NY…Ph:  202-224-4451…Fax 228-0282

Arlen Specter, PA…Ph:  202-222-4254…Fax 228-4254

EPW Republicans…PH:  202-224-6176…Fax: 224-5167

James Inhofe, OK (Rnk. Mem.)…Ph:  202-224-4721…Fax 228-0380

George Voinovich, OH…Ph:  202-224-3353…Fax 228-1382

David Vitter, LA…Ph:  202-224-4623…Fax 228-5061

John Barrasso, WY…Ph:  202-224-6441…Fax 224-1724

Mike Crapo, ID…Ph:  202-224-6142…Fax 228-1375

Christopher Bond, MO…Ph:  202-224-5721…Fax 224-8149

Lamar Alexander, TN…Ph:  202-224-4944…Fax 228-3398

Action Items:

-----1. Forward this message to your entire list if possible. 

-----2. Write a new letter referencing the vote on June 18 to the Honorable James Inhofe, Ranking Member, Environment and Public Works Committee, US Senate, Washington, DC 20210.  You can fax it to (202) 224-5167.

-----3.  Write both your home state Senators at Honorable _____, US Senate, Washington, DC 20510.   Write the Senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee using the list above opposing the new version of S 787 as passed by the EPW Committee. 

The Committee failed to hold hearings in this Congress.  You can still ask your Senators and the Senators on the Committee to hold hearings.  Ask them how they could vote on a bill without holding public hearings.  

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From the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association:

NCBA: Cattlemen Speak Out On Clean Water Act Land Grab

WASHINGTON (June 18, 2009) – The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed S. 787, the Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA) out of committee today on a party-line vote, bringing the country one step closer to the largest federal land grab in our history. 

The bill was amended at the markup by Senators Baucus, Klobuchar, and Boxer. The amendment Under current law, the federal government has jurisdiction over "navigable waters of the United States."  However, by removing the word "navigable" from the definition, the CWRA would expand federal regulatory control to unprecedented levels - essentially putting stock tanks, drainage ditches, any puddle or water feature found on family farms and ranches—potentially even ground water—under the regulatory strong-arm of the federal government. 

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Public Lands Council (PLC) strongly oppose this legislation, not only because it infringes on private property rights, but also because it limits the state partnerships and flexibility that have made the current Clean Water Act so successful. 

Cattle producers across the country are asking the Senate to stop this legislation should it come up for a full Senate vote. 

In a letter sent to the EPW Committee, Reid Blossom of Alabama writes, “This dangerous legislation would open a floodgate of unintended consequences as federal jurisdiction would be granted to monitor and regulate all bodies of water. This means stock tanks, farm ponds, irrigation pools, and more would be subject to federal regulation and oversight. Surely this is not the intention of the bill but it is also certain to be the outcome if its passage becomes a reality.

“As cattlemen, my family protects the water on our land. We do so not because we’re made to by the federal or state government but because we take pride in stewardship. Just as we care for our animals, we care for our environment to see that it too is passed down in a pure state from generation to generation. Additional oversight and regulation by the federal government will only serve to hinder this progression among America’s farming and ranching families.”

Heather Gessner of South Dakota explains, “As a cattleman in South Dakota, I value water quality for my livestock and my family and I feel that…other bills that are currently in place effectively provide for the regulation and enforcement of public water ways that are utilized for human and animal consumption.”

Jason McCann of Missouri writes, “As a cattleman in Southwest Missouri, we are blessed with an average of 44 inches of rain per year. And while this is great for growing grass, growing cattle and filling ponds, it could be a detriment if the mark up strikes the word navigable from the Clean Water statutes.

“You see, our part of the country has months where 6 inches of rain is not uncommon. That much rain makes for many 'wet weather' creeks which only run in the wetter parts of the year. If ‘navigable’ is removed, the small swale across my pasture which carries water to the creek will fall under the regulatory power of the EPA. The requisite permitting and usage restrictions would debilitate my ability to provide protein for a hungry America and a hungry world.

“The federal government has no business taking away my rights, or any cattlemen’s private property rights by regulating non-navigable water. Focus instead on enforcement of existing law. Adding more legislation is not the solution.”

Charles Hord of Tennessee writes, “Nothing in the bill addresses the fact that both the [Baucus-Klobuchar-Boxer] amendment and S 787 as introduced would give federal regulators (and those who would use citizen suits to challenge an activity) the right to control private property. Moreover, by leaving the basic structure of S. 787 in place, Federal and state permitting programs will grind to a halt under the permitting burden created by these amendments to the Clean Water Act.” 

Tom Shipley of Iowa explains, “No amendments will solve the problem with this legislation—it would give federal regulators the right to control private property. It would never accomplish what private citizens are doing already at no cost to taxpayers. This act would actually hamper the government’s ability to maintain clean waters as there is already a backlog of permit requests.” 

End of NCBA release.

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Congress Moves To Seize Control Of All U.S. Waters

-----Do you want the Corps and EPA in your backyard?

-----Do you want the EPA and Corps to control your water?

-----Do you want the Corps and EPA to control all your watersheds that means all your land too?

------That’s what will happen if the new Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA) (S787) passes Congress. 

-----Besides private property, the Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA) (S 787) threatens businesses, agriculture, small communities, grazing, forestry, mining and many other uses on private and Federal land.  It will affect many kinds of manufacturing companies and businesses. 

-----The Real Goal of the Clean Water Restoration Act (S787) is to give Corps and EPA Control over your water and all your watersheds.  That means National Land Use Controls as well as control over all your water and land.  That’s because all land is in a watershed. The proposed Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA) (S787), which has no House bill number yet, will give the Corps and EPA jurisdiction and control over your property and water. 

-----It will redefine what the term “wetlands” means in the law.  It will eliminate the requirement that the Corps and EPA limit their jurisdiction to “Navigable” waters and give those agencies control over all waters of the US and “activities” affecting those waters.

The Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA) will be introduced in the House shortly.

----- Maps showing existing Clean Water Act affected areas compared to the areas affected if the CWRA (Clean Water Restoration Act) if   S 787 were to pass Congress are right on our homepage at www.landrights.org

Read it in their own words. 

Oberstar staff White Paper published on our Website, www.landrights.org

ALRA has published an Executive Summary and Analysis of the Oberstar Staff White Paper written by our associate Don Parmeter of the National Water Conservation Alliance.  You’ll see in their own words what the Democrats plan is to control your land.  Go to www.landrights.org

------In the White Paper on the Clean Water Act you’ll see how Rep. James Oberstar, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee want to give the power and jurisdiction to the Corps of Engineers and EPA to control all the watersheds in the United States.  All land is in a watershed. 

-----It became clear what Oberstar is really up to at the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing on Oberstar’s Clean Water Act Wetlands Land Grab Bill, the Clean Water Restoration Act at a hearing last year. 

-----Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) made it clear at the hearing that he plans to overturn the Rapanos and SWANCC Supreme Court Decisions of 2006 and 2001.  S 787 now says that. 

-----That would give the Corps of Engineers and EPA jurisdiction over nearly all private and Federal land.  The Supreme Court limited that jurisdiction in the two Supreme Court decisions.  Look at the two maps for comparison of how the Clean Water Restoration Act affects the country at www.landrights.org

Your help is greatly appreciated. 

Chuck Cushman, Executive Director American Land Rights Association (360) 687-3087  ccushman@pacifier.com

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              Page Updated: Tuesday June 23, 2009 02:47 AM  Pacific

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