Thursday, June 25, 2009

Draft Clean Water Restoration Act Approved By Senate Committee

The US Senate Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved a bill, "the Clean Water Restoration Act", that will clarify the scope of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 ("Clean Water Act") definition of "waters of the United States". Under the draft bill, waters of the US would be defined as including:

(A) all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide;
(B) all interstate waters, including interstate wetlands;
(C) all other waters, such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds;
(D) all impoundments of waters of the United States;
(E) tributaries of the aforementioned waters;
(F) the territorial seas; and
(G) wetlands adjacent to the aforementioned waters;

The draft bill specifically excludes groundwaters from the definition of waters subject to the Clean Water Act. As always, States can decide to include additional types of waters to be included as "waters of the State". Some States already include groundwater under this definition.

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