Northern California River Watch letter supporting the Clean Water Restoration Act in legislation.
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable James Oberstar, Chairman
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
2365 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-2308
The Honorable Barbara Boxer, Chairwoman
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-0505
Re: Support of HB 2421 and S 1870
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Representative Oberstar and Senator Boxer:
We are writing to support the efforts to pass the Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007, introduced as H.B. 2421 and S. 1870.
Northern California River Watch represents thousands of citizens throughout northern California who strongly support protecting our nation’s waters (including wetlands). The waters of northern California are facing serious threats from a number of different sources the most serious being the recent Supreme Court decisions and efforts to weaken Clean Water Act protections by the present administration. Without the protections of the Clean Water Act, the surface waters that provide the lifeblood to people and wildlife will be in even greater peril.
The Supreme Court decisions in SWANCC and Rapanos (in which we filed a brief amicus curiae) threaten the very waters on which people depend. Many of the waters for which we need Clean Water Act protections are seasonal streams that do not meet the plurality test, and may or may not meet the concurring Kennedy test, described in Rapanos. The recent Bush administration guidance further threatens the existence of these critical waters. In the arid parts of the West, anywhere from 65% to 96% of the surface waters would fail to pass Justice Scalia’s test for Clean Water Act protection and many more would lose protections based on recent EPA and Corps of Engineers national guidance to its field offices. Without federal protection afforded by the proposed legislation, we could lose these critical waters. These waters are used for all sorts of purposes by the people, wildlife and plants that make up the backbone of the West.
As you know, the Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007 seeks only to put into statute the protections that have been in the EPA and Corps of Engineers rules for three decades. We thank you for your leadership in protecting these vital waterways and urge passage on H.B. 2421 and S. 1870.
Northern California River Watch
Fortney H. Stark
Anna G. Eschoo