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American Opinion - On the Clean Water Act:

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From The Associated Press

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

On the Clean Water Act:

Recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have undermined the ability of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop pollution of the nation's waterways. Congress should pass a Senate bill that would leave no doubt about the agency's authority to crack down on manufacturers, developers, and others guilty of discharging toxic wastes into wetlands and rivers.

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For 30 years, the EPA and federal courts -- including the Supreme Court itself -- had broadly interpreted the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction over "navigable waters" to protect virtually all the nation's wetlands and waters, including tributaries of rivers. During that time, pollution levels fell dramatically and the quality of drinking water improved. Then the Supreme Court muddied the issue by taking a cramped, overly restrictive view of the law's wording. In a 2006 decision, the court said the EPA had authority in wetlands cases only if the wetlands form a "significant nexus" to "navigable" waters. The uncertainty surrounding this ruling has thrown a wrench into EPA's enforcement of the law. ...

A bill co-sponsored by Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland would end the ambiguity in the federal Clean Water Act in part by dropping the word "navigable." Called the Clean Water Restoration Act to emphasize that it simply returns to the EPA the power it had before the court rulings, the bill deserves quick approval by Congress. Even anti-government zealots must acknowledge that it is no fun having a tea party with contaminated water.

-- The Boston Globe

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