National Water & Conservation Alliance
St. Paul, Minnesota - Vancouver, Washington

Action Alert

Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chair
Barbara Boxer Schedules Markup of S. 787 Without Hearing

***This bill will profoundly impact every citizen & community in the country--You need to keep up the pressure: It's been working***

1. Bombard the EPW office with phone calls and tell them to postpone committee action and demand a hearing on the bill:

Democratic Office: (202) 224-8832
Republican Office: (202) 224-6176

2. Contact both of your Senators and ask them to request a hearing on the bill. You can call any Senator at (202) 224-3121.

3. Contact your member of Congress and ask him or her not to cosponsor this legislation. You can call any Congressman at (202) 225-3121.

4. Contact your governor, state legislators and local elected officials and ask them to weigh in on this issue.

5. Forward this message to people and organizations in your network.

Note: If you are a Minnesota citizen, you need to contact Sen. Amy Klobuchar at (202) 224-3244. She is one of four senators on the Committee that has been appointed to cut a deal, and the word in Washington is that she is doing Rep. Oberstar's bidding for him.


Washington, D.C. __ The Oberstar-Feingold Clean Water Restoration Act, regarded as perhaps the biggest federal power grab in the nation's history, has been scheduled for committee markup and possible passage this Thursday, June 18th. The bill has been held up in the Environment and Public Works Committee for over a month because of large-scale, grassroots opposition from around the country.

Committee Chair Barbara Boxer has been frustrated for the past month, and is strong-arming Democrats on the Committee to support a bill without a hearing. She has also established a 'gang of four' to come up with language that would assure Committee approval.

The four are Max Baucus (D-MT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), George Voinovich (R-OH), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Baucus is the leading critic on the Democratic side, and is trying to 'cut a deal' by appeasing interests in his state.

The chief author in the House is Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar. Rep. Oberstar chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has sole jurisdiction of the legislation in the House. This is purported to be a 'legacy' bill for Rep. Oberstar, and although there is virtually no support for the bill in his own district, he has made it a top priority for his Committee, and is expected to introduce a bill in the House soon.

Rep. Oberstar recently received a green light from high level officials in the Obama Administration, inlcuding the Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Interior, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chairman of the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

As Reed Hopper, lead attorney in a 2006 landmark Supreme Court decision stated in testimony, ".....this bill pushes the limits of federal power to an extreme not matched by any other law, probably in the history of this country."

Hopper wasn't exaggerating. This bill expands federal power in two ways:

     1) By removing the limiting term 'navigable' from the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act and replacing it with the all inclusive 'waters of the U.S.' (including wetlands, intermittent streams, playa lakes, prairie potholes, sandflats, mudflats, ponds, meadows and sloughs).

     2) By adding the new language 'activities affecting these waters,' which refers to land use activity as well as atmospheric deposition. As Rep. Oberstar has often stated, "water flows downhill." That is to say that the bill is about federal control of entire watersheds. And everything is in a watershed--all water, all land, all people, all communities.

In short, this bill is not about clean water. It's about governance. It's aim is top-down, command and control of land, water, people and communities. It should be viewed as perhaps the greatest threat ever to liberty, property, jobs, energy independence, and access to and use and enjoyment of public lands and waters. In the words of Jim Burling, senior attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, "If our constitutional system of limited federal powers means anything, we have to win on this issue."

The bill would overturn two U.S. Supreme Court decisions (SWANCC--2001 and Rapanos--2006) which ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had exceeded their authority under the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Cleverly and deceptively titled the Clean Water Restoration Act, the only thing the Oberstar-Feingold bill restores, and legalizes, is the abuse of the individual rights of American citizens, and the continued expansion of federal control over every aspect of American life.

In case you think we're overstating the case, a 2006 report prepared by Oberstar's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee staff leaves no doubt as to what this legislation is about. The report emphasizes that control of non-point sources is the unfinished agenda of the Clean Water Act.

The simple definition of a non-point source is 'anything that doesn't come out of a pipe.' This would include agriculture, forestry, mining, energy development, home-building and other property improvement, as well as recreational uses of public lands and waters. It would include activities such as mowing your lawn, planting a garden, or building, maintaining, or using a recreational trail--virtually any human activity you can imagine. As Ali Cambel, professor of Environmental Studies at George Washington University warned over 30 years ago, "Wait until they get around to controlling non-point sources of water pollution."

The bill is not about pollution, it's about power. It is being supported by every national environmental organization in the country as a means of maintaining and expanding their power base in Washington. Many of these groups don't just have office space in Washington--they own buildings! There are no checks and balances, and little oversight. This is purely and simply a redistribution of power and authority, removing it from American citizens and communities and their state and local elected officials, and transferring it to a massive federal bureaucracy. That is why organizations such as the National Association of Counties are so strongly opposed to the legislation.

Of course, there are some who will benefit. If passed, it will be a full-employment act for environmental activists and attorneys, already a major growth-industry in America. There will be endless litigation, as every acre of land and water in the country is up for dispute as to whether a human activity should be allowed.

This legislation is expansive and precedent-setting, so please act immediately.

Here's the full makeup of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:

Democrats:          Republicans:

Boxer (CA) Chair    Inhofe (OK) Ranking Member
Baucus (MT)         Alexander (TN)
Cardin (MD)         Bond (MO)
Carper (DE)         Barrasso (WY)
Gillebrand (NY)     Crapo (ID)
Klobuchar (MN)      Vitter (LA)
Lautenberg (NJ)     Voinovich (OH)
Merkley (OR)
Sanders (VT)
Specter (PA)
Udall (NM)
Whitehouse (RI)

Call your Senators even if they are not on the EPW Committee. You can call any Senator at (202) 224-3121.

This bill must be defeated, so please act now! There's a better way to achieve water quality objectives--a way that allows for every citizen to participate in solutions to environmental problems--solutions that are better, faster and cheaper! This approach has been tried successfully in many parts of the country. It works. And it can not only lead to common sense solutions to problems, it can help restore trust in government. The choice is very simple: Do you want more top-down, one-size-fits-all, command and control government from Washington, or responsible, bottoms-up, common sense government from average citizens and local communities?

Please take the time to get organizations to support the petition below by resolution and have them return it to us as soon as possible.

*Petition in Support of Grassroots Alternatives*

The undersigned hereby supports local and regional alternatives to the proposed federal Clean Water Restoration Act, in order to achieve water quality objectives that reflect broad, popular support among people and communities most directly affected by environmental policies and regulations.

Name              Organization         Address/Contact Information

_____________     _______________      ____________________________

We need your support! Please help us with a donation. We are truly a grassroots organization taking on the multi-billion dollar industry known as environmentalism. Send a contribution of $1000, $500, $250, $100, $50, $20, or whatever you can afford. You may donate on line by going to our new website at, or you can send it via mail to:

National Water & Conservation Alliance
P.O. Box 65246
Vancouver, WA 98665-0009

We are dedicated to winning this battle, and we sincerely appreciate your support!

Don Parmeter                       Kathy McDonald
Co-Chair                           Co-Chair
St. Paul, Minnesota                Vancouver, Washington
(651) 224-6219                     (360) 607-8959