Sunday, November 4, 2007

H.R. 2421 Clean Water ‘Restoration’ Act: Does Congressman Walz have a view?

House Resolution 2421 is a bill moving forward in Congress that is sponsored by Representative Oberstar and 171 Representatives. This bill threatens to greatly expand the Federal Government’s role in water management. Congressman Walz is not among the co-sponsors, yet he doesn't appear to have taken a position on it. On October 15, I attended the American Land Rights Coalition at Cabela’s in Owatonna along with Representative Steve Drazkowski, Senator Day, John Adams and dozens others. State Senator Linda Runbeck led the meeting. Many in attendance, including me, spoke against the bill's passage. Representative Drazkowski has sent a letter to Congressman Walz urging him to vote against this bill.

As a property owner and resident of Minnesota, I strongly oppose this bill as a land grab by the Federal government. This bill usurps States’ rights and interferes with the right to private property.

If you share these concerns, please consider forwarding the correspondence below received from Deb in Steve’s office and posted elsewhere:

Since its enactment, the Clean Water Act of 1972 has led to significant and continued improvement in the quality of the nation’s waters; and,

Whereas, Two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions (SWANCC in 2001, and Rapanos in 2006) favoring local government and landowners ruled that federal agencies exceeded the authority granted them under the federal Clean Water Act; and,

Whereas, As a result of those decisions, legislation is being considered in Congress (H.R. 2421 and S. 1870) that would broaden federal authority under the Clean Water Act by substituting ‘waters of the U.S.’ for ‘navigable waters,’ and by adding ‘activities affecting these waters;’ and,

Whereas, The National Association of Counties and organizations representing forestry, agriculture, mining, and a broad cross-section of other interests are opposed to this legislation; and,

Whereas, Pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act, the Minnesota Legislature has enacted legislation, notably the Wetlands Conservation Act of 1991 and the Clean Water Legacy Act of 2006; and,

Whereas, A new legislative committee called the Subcommittee on Watersheds, Wetlands and Buffers was created in 2007 by the Minnesota House of Representatives to consider watershed management policy; and

Whereas, All water, land and people are located within the boundaries of one
watershed or another; and,

Whereas, The foregoing federal and state legislation and actions by federal and state agencies has led to undue hardship, unfairness, cost and confusion; and,

Whereas, There is a need for public forums providing citizens with an opportunity to testify and give local, state, and federal elected officials information and guidance that will determine the proper course of action of federal and legislative bodies;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that __________ (County, City, Township, Joint
Powers Board) opposes passage of H.R.2421.

Thanks for any efforts that you take in this matter.