Senator Introduces Bill to Gut High Court's Ruling in SWANCC (Solid Waste
Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of

(Note: This piece of legislation, judging from its sponsors/co-sponsors,
needs VERY careful reading and attention paid to it. This is very dangerous
legislation to property rights! Keep an eye on who is supporting it and
please, watch this one like a hawk.)

February 27, 2003

Wisconsin Democratic Senator, Russ Feingold introduced
S. 473 the 'Clean Water Authority Restoration Act of 2003,' a bill designed
to dramatically alter federal wetlands policy, and the jurisdiction of its
chief enforcer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The bill follows and appears to respond to, the U.S. Supreme Court's recent
ruling in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, in which the Court made the distinction between waters (wetlands)
that are connected to 'navigable waters' of the United States, and those
wetlands that are isolated, or not connected to navigable waters.

In its holding, the Court made clear that isolated wetlands fall outside of
jurisdiction of the Corps as defined under the Clean Water Act (CWA), and
therefore are exempt from the wetlands 404 permitting process.

Mr. Feingold's bill would cut the legs from under this ruling by amending
the Clean Water Act (Federal Water Pollution Control Act) to replace the
terms 'navigable waters' with 'waters of the United States.'

In doing so, the bill would give the Corps jurisdiction over all waters of
the United States, not only those deemed to be 'navigable waters,' thus nullifying the
Court's ruling in SWANCC, and the resulting 404 exemption for isolated

Joining Mr. Feingold on the bill as co-sponsors were Sens. Jeffords, Boxer, and Leiberman. (put S.473 in search box)


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