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Farm Bureau urges opposition to faulty clean water bill


The Montana Farm Bureau Federation is urging its members--and anyone else with a concern about water and property rights--to contact their Senators and urge them to oppose S.787, the Clean Water Restoration Act.

"Certainly the Clean Water Act has done an admirable job in making sure our nation's waters are clean. This is not about clean water, it's about the federal government having jurisdiction over everything from a river to a pond to a puddle in your backyard," notes MFBF Vice President of Governmental Affair John Youngberg. "Passage of S.787 as it stands deletes the term "navigable" from the Clean Water Act. This, in turn, creates a complete new set of sweeping federal authorities, erases the distinction between federal and state waters, and eliminates the original, congressionally authorized regulatory limit."

Youngberg points out that this is a real concern, since by eliminating the word "navigable," it opens up federal authority over something as small as an ephemeral stream or "prairie pothole" in your field that tends to be filled with water during the wet times of the year.

He points out that groundwater at this point, is non-navigable water, so is not a part of the original, well-intended Clean Water Act. "This opens the door to lawsuits by over-zealous environmental groups stopping projects by everyone from governmental agencies to industry."

Youngberg adds "We appreciate Senator Max Baucus' work on consensus language, but we cannot support removing the term navigable."

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