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Senate Sets New Wetlands (S 1870) Clean Water Act Hearing

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Senate Sets New Wetlands (S 1870) Clean Water Act Hearing

Postby tammylynn » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:45 am

Land Rights Network
American 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 Sets New Wetlands (S 1870) Clean Water Act Hearing April 9
Do You Want The Corps Of Engineers In Your Backyard? You'll get that result of S 1870 passes the Senate and Congress.
Please Send Senate your Testimony On Clean Water Act (Wetlands)
Fax and E-mail Deadline Tuesday, April 8th.

You can watch the hearing on the Internet by going to:
http://epw.senate.gov

Below is a modified Senate Testimony Questionnaire for you to send to your Senator and the Members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972 expansion of Corps Of Engineers power.
Congress is considering expanding the power of the Clean Water Act of 1972 to include all waters of the United States and not limit it to navigable waters as is currently the law under two Supreme Court Decisions. This is a massive threat to all private property in America. It also threatens the use of Federal land. Besides private property, it threatens grazing, forestry, mining and many other uses on private and Federal land.
The House is also holding a new hearing on April 16th. We'll send you more information about that later.

Action Items Below
Take the Testimony Questionnaire below, save it to your word processor, edit it to say how you feel, and then e-mail it back to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee listed below. Be sure to mail it to the staff too.

Also e-mail it to both your own Senators. If you don't have their e-mail or fax, you may call any Senator at (202) 224-3121. Ask for the staff person who handles the Environment and Public Works Committee, wetlands, the Clean Water Act or the Corps of Engineers. Ask for their e-mail and fax and send your testimony to that staff person. Keep their name and contact information for future reference. Your testimony will count for the official record if you e-mail or fax it in by Tuesday, April 8th.

You may print out a formatted version of the Testimony Questionnaire that is below by going to www.landrights.org. The Testimony Questionnaire is designed so you can simply save it into your word processing program, edit it with your comments, and then send it to the Senator listed on the Committee using your e-mail program. Be sure to edit out or cut off the parts that are our instructions and are not part of the testimony. We've marked them so please read it carefully.

We agree with all the statements on the Testimony Questionnaire, but you don't have to. You can mark it Agree, Disagree or No Opinion. Or you may write comments by every statement. This is supposed to be your testimony. Your Senators want to know what you think. What is most important is that you fill out the blank space below the Statements with your own personal comments. You may get ideas and draw from the statements we have provided or preferably write your own. Please don't fail to fill in that large blank space because Congress will pay far more attention to your testimony when you do. The Testimony Questionnaire is rated at a much higher value by your Senator if you write your own personal thoughts in the space provided after the section with the statements with Agree, Disagree, or No Opinion.

Please send a copy of your Testimony, no matter how you feel about the issue, to American Land Rights at ccushman@landrights.org Write in the Subject line: Copy of Testimony Sent to US Senate. Otherwise we won't know whether you sent it to Congress or not. And we would like to know how you feel about the issues. You do not have to send a copy to us.
If you receive this message late, send your testimony anyway, as the Committee will often accept testimony late.

Testimony Questionnaire - Please be sure to edit the Testimony Questionnaire so our e-mail information and instructions are removed.

Edit out all above this line before e-mailing this message.
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Congressional Testimony Questionnaire

Testimony For The Record
The Clean Water Act and
S 1870 -- Clean Water Restoration Act
(National Wetlands Corps of Engineers Land Use Control Bill)

Honorable __________________ US Senate
Fill in the name of your Senator and Committee Chairman Senator.
To be submitted for the record of the April 9th Senate Hearing on the Clean Water Restoration Act (modifies the Clean Water Act of 1972)

This hearing is laying the groundwork for movement in the Senate of the Feingold bill (S 1870), the Clean Water Restoration Act, and therefore it is important to have Committee Members understand that the Clean Water Act regulatory picture has never been clear, particularly prior to the SWANCC Supreme Court legal decision which is what proponents of the bill claim is the reason for enactment of the bill.

S 1870, The Clean Water Restoration Act, is really a massive Federal land Corps of Engineers land and water power grab. It will use "wetlands" to take control over every farm, ranch, and piece of private property with any water on it or even if the landowner only engage in activities that might affect water.

It expands the authority of the Federal government under the Clean Water Act of 1972 to include all waters of the U.S. and activities affecting these waters.

It will give the Corps of Engineers control over most private property.

In the words of Reed Hopper of Pacific Legal Foundation, lead attorney in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court victory, "...this bill pushes the limits of federal power to an extreme not matched by any other law, probably in the history of this country."

Below are my concerns and testimony regarding S 1870, the inappropriately named Clean Water Restoration Act. It has little to do with clean water and is mostly about land use control.

Please allow this Testimony to be submitted for the record for any additional hearings to be held on the Clean Water Act, S 1870, and the Clean Water Restoration Act.

Please consider a photocopy of this document as valid as the original and include my testimony for the official record.

Signature ________________________________ Print Your Name ______________________________

1. The jurisdiction of federal agencies under the Clean Water Act of 1972 should remain limited to navigable waters and not expanded to include all waters of the U.S., such as wetlands, sloughs, meadows, intermittent streams, prairie potholes, ponds, playa lakes, mudflats and sandflats.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

2. The definition of wetlands under federal jurisdiction should be limited to those areas that are permanently wet or free flowing.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

3. The Clean Water Act 1972 should not be used as a tool for national land use controls.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

4. The Clean Water Act of 1972 should not be expanded to include activities affecting waters.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

5. The U. S. Supreme Court decisions of 2001 and 2006 that ruled in favor of local government and landowners should not be overturned by the proposed Clean Water Restoration Act ( S 1870).

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

6. Mostly dry land and isolated wetlands should be excluded from federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act of 1972.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

7. The definition of pollutants under the Clean Water Act of 1972 should not include clean fill or natural material of any kind.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

8. The term 'discharge' should not apply to the disturbance of soils or natural materials.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

9. Citizens cited for violation of regulations under the Clean Water Act of 1972 should not face criminal penalties.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

10. National Water Quality goals should be achieved without violating constitutionally protected property rights.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

11. National Water Quality goals are best achieved by local and state governments, rather than by federal agencies.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

12. National Water Quality goals should consider priorities and costs

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

13. National Water Quality goals should consider regional differences in landscapes and other ecological characteristics.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

14. 'Regulatory Takings' that devalue private property should be compensated under provisions of the 5th Amendment.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

15. Access to and use and enjoyment of public lands and waters should be guaranteed under provisions of the Clean Water Act.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

16. 'Environmental' organizations have become too radical and have too much power and influence over federal legislation.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

17. The Clean Water Restoration Act and other environmental legislation is often not about environmental protection, but about control over land, water, and people.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion

18. Please do not give the Corps of Engineers increased power to regulate more private land.

Agree...Disagree...No Opinion


(Your written comments here are essential if you want Members of Congress to really pay attention to this document. You are free to use as much space as you need. But please write some comments
below before sending this important document to Congress. If needed, use additional sheets or attach a personal letter) To validate your comments please fill in completely (PRINT or TYPE) and be sure to sign.
Signature_________________________________ Name____________________________________________
E-Mail___________________________________ Fax ___________________ Phone ____________________ Address_______________________________ Town______________________ State_____ Zip____________



Please edit out or cut below this line before sending to your
Senator and others on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.


Background:
The hearing will be on the Clean Water Act but is really laying the groundwork for movement of the Feingold-Oberstar bill (S 1870) in the Senate. It is therefore important to have Committee Members understand that the regulatory picture has never been clear, particularly prior to the SWANCC Supreme Court legal decision which is what proponents of the bill claim is the reason for enactment of the bill. Write your Senator opposing S 1870.

S 1870, The Clean Water Restoration Act, what we call the National Wetlands Corps of Engineers Land Grab Act, is really a massive Federal land and water power grab. It will use the Corps of Engineers regulation of "wetlands" as the pretext to take control over every farm, ranch, and piece of private property with any water on it or even if you only engage in activities that might affect water. S 1870 expands the authority of the Federal government under the Clean Water Act of 1972 to include all waters of the U.S. and activities affecting these waters. In the words of Reed Hopper of Pacific Legal Foundation, lead attorney in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court victory, "...this bill pushes the limits of federal power to an extreme not matched by any other law, probably in the history of this country." The chief author of S 1870, titled the Clean Water Restoration Act, is Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). James Oberstar (D-MN) Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the bills author in the House (HR 2421), said in his own admission, the House bill (same wording as S 1870) is intended to overturn two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that recently ruled in favor of local government and local landowners on Wetlands issues. Those were the Rapanos and SWANCC decisions. In both cases, the high court ruled that the Federal government exceeded the authority granted under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, what is commonly called Wetlands issues under the Clean Water Act of 1972. In the Rapanos, a Michigan landowner faced steep fines and a recommended 5-year jail sentence for moving gravel on his property, located some 20 miles from the nearest navigable water.

Reasons To Oppose Feingold's Wetlands Land Grab Bill (S 1870):
(This is the same as the Oberstar bill HR 2421 in the House)
A. S 1870 replaces the word 'navigable' waters under the 1972 Clean Water Act with 'waters of the U.S.' including wetlands, sloughs, ponds, meadows, prairie potholes, sandflats, mudflats, playa lakes, and intermittent streams. This change vastly increases the land area covered by this Wetlands--land use control legislation.
B. S 1870 adds the new language 'activities affecting these waters' essentially a thinly-disguised attempt at national land use control
C. S 1870 is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Senator Feingold is attempting to get his way by using the popular political appeal of the nice sounding term 'clean water' and by using his newly gained power as chairman of a major 'pork committee' to intimidate the bill's opponents, including elected officials in his own state
D. S 1870 is intended to overturn two U.S. Supreme Court wetlands cases (SWANCC, 2001 and Rapanos, 2006) that ruled in favor of landowners and local government
E. In the later case, a Michigan landowner faced stiff fines and a possible 5 year prison sentence for moving gravel on his land located 20 miles from the nearest navigable waterway. If you do anything on your land without permission, you could be facing criminal penalties
F. S 1870 is an attempt to control 'non-point sources' of water pollution, essentially any type of significant uses--farming, logging, mining, development of any kind, and even atmospheric deposition
G. S 1870 will be also be used by environmental groups to restrict and prohibit uses of Federal lands and waters, including and especially motorized recreational uses
H. S 1870 will result in endless litigation, unacceptable permitting delays, and will be a severe blow to property rights and local control
I. There are serious constitutional concerns with S 1870, and states should not relinquish control of natural resources to the federal government
J. Many of the co-sponsors of S 1870 have supported it because of the political appeal of the term "clean water". They fail to understand the incredible regulatory abuses imposed by the Corps of Engineers under the old Clean Water Act before the Supreme Court fixed the problem. Of course, the land grabbers in the Senate understand all too well and want the Corps of Engineers to get those powers back and are using S 1870 to do it.
K. S 1870 could be the biggest threat to freedom and property rights ever!! As Jim Burling, senior attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation said recently, "If our constitutional system of limited federal powers means anything, we have to win on this issue."

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Chuck Cushman
Executive Director
American Land Rights Association
(360) 687-3087
ccushman@landrights.org
tammylynn
 
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