Bipartisan Bill Restores Clean Water Act Protections to Critical Waters

Legislation Fixes Polluter Loophole Created by U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (April 21, 2010) -- Seeking to close legal loopholes that have left significant portions of the nation's waterways vulnerable to pollution, Reps. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), and John Dingell (D-Mich.) introduced America's Commitment to Clean Water Act today.

U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 have left roughly 20 percent of the more than 100 million acres of wetlands and countless miles of small and intermittently-flowing streams in the continental United States unprotected by the Clean Water Act and its programs that guard against oil spills or other industrial pollution, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The legislation would restore Clean Water Act protections to all waters.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved similar legislation; NRDC will work with leaders in both chambers to ensure that the bills move ahead.

The following is a statement from Jon Devine, senior attorney in the Water Program at NRDC:

"The bill introduced today will effectively restore the law's clear protections to our nation's fragile water bodies.

 "Congress did not intend to leave significant amounts of our waterways vulnerable. It must act immediately to close the loopholes created by the Supreme Court to ensure clean and adequate water for the future."