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Water Quality:
intrastate water resources; state sovereignty

Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: SCR1024
Sponsor: Griffin
Legislative Session: 2011 Legislative Session

Verde River by Gary BeverlyThis is an anti-Clean Water Act resolution that says the legislature supports the continued sovereignty and jurisdiction of the states to regulate intrastate water resources and opposes any attempt by the federal government to diminish this jurisdiction unnecessarily – in this regard, they mean the Clean Water Act.  This is still silly, but at least, it is just a resolution.

Status

To read this memorial click on SCR1024 and to see a more detailed status, click on SCR1024 status.

Action Needed

For a complete list of House Members, click on Arizona House.

Contact

Sandy Bahr at (602) 253 8633 or sandy.bahr@sierraclub.org for more information.

Background

Since Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, we have made significant progress in cleaning up our nation’s waters, but that progress could be in jeopardy.  The law historically has protected the nation’s lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands from unregulated pollution and destruction.  Today, however, many are seeking to deny water bodies the Act’s protections.  Polluters argue that Supreme Court decisions from 2001 and 2006 mean that the law’s safeguards are only available for “navigable” water bodies (or for waters that are significantly linked to such water bodies).  They claim the Act no longer protects numerous wetlands, streams, rivers, lakes and other waters that were historically covered.  Using this interpretation would put many of our rivers and streams at risk.

The intent of the legislation that was introduced in Congress was to restore the original understandings about the scope of the Clean Water Act.  It was not to increase regulation, but merely restore protections that served us well for three decades.  The Clean Water Act, along with the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act, has been pillars of the legal framework that provides this country with a safe and healthy environment.

Ironically, because of our desert location, Arizona is one of the states most affected by the weaker and narrower interpretations of the Clean Water Act.  That is why our state along with many others originally signed onto a request that the original understandings be restored because our state laws were written with the federal law in place.  More than 90 percent of Arizona’s waters could be unprotected because they are now either intermittent or ephemeral.  Without Clean Water Act protections, there will be more pollution from mining, wastewater treatments plants, development, and other discharges. 

Water is too precious in Arizona to allow any weakening of protections.
     
     

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