On Feb. 17, Earthjustice called on Congress to introduce and pass legislation that would fix a glaring loophole punched in the Clean Water Act during the Bush years. The Supreme Court, with Bush administration backing, held that only "navigable" waterways could enjoy protections of this law.
Today, I am glad to report, the Clean Water Restoration Act has been introduced by Senators Russ Feingold, Barbara Boxer, Benjamin Cardin and 20 other pro-clean water senators in the 111th Congress. The new bill would protect ALL waters of the United States, regardless of whether one could paddle a dinghy down the stream or not.
The federal Clean Water Act is the nation's primary protector of water quality. Its basic goal is to restore and maintain our lakes, rivers and wetlands, to ensure that we have clean water for fishing, swimming and drinking.
The Clean Water Restoration Act will close the loophole and restore the traditional scope of protection intended by Congress in the 1970s when the Clean Water Act was adopted. It will again guarantee Americans the safeguards we need to achieve the goal of restoring and maintaining our waters.
On the campaign trail, President Obama said he would support legislation to restore protections to our nation's waterways. Congress should swiftly pass this important legislation and get it on the president's desk as soon as possible.