Friday, June 19, 2009

Clean Water Restoration Act goes to full Senate

On a 12-7 vote, the Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday approved a version of the Clean Water Restoration Act, S. 787. If it becomes law, one of the more useful changes is the clarification of the federal government's regulatory jurisdiction, by replacing the term "navigable waters" with "waters of the United States." So-called 'property rights' activists have questioned the old language in order to attack protections for wetlands and small bodies of water.

In news relating to the non-wet part of the biosphere, the House Appropriations Committee approved an EPA funding bill that bars spending, from any legislation, that would make factory farms report greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Clean Air Act. Even though the rule would only apply to the biggest livestock operations, agri groups fear it could lead to EPA regulations or fees on methane from animals. Even though EPA says it has no plans to go that far.

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