Resolution to Retain State Sovereignty over Instrastate Water Resources

WHEREAS, the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution preserves powers not delegated to the federal government for the states, establishing federalism and state sovereignty as integral founding principles of American government; and

 WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. United States Army Corps of Engineers (2001) and Rapanos v. United States (2006) held that the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (The Clean Water Act) did not intend to grant federal authority over intrastate waters, and that these waters were not subject to regulation under the interstate commerce clause of the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, Senate Bill 787 and House Bill 5088 (2009) would expand the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction from “navigable waters of the United States” to “waters of the United States,” and define “waters of the United States” to mean “all other waters, such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds;” and

WHEREAS, this definition grants the United States Environmental Protection Agency broad and vague flexibility to interpret federal jurisdiction expansively, which they attempted to do under the current law and with which the Supreme Court disagreed; and

WHEREAS, these bills represent a clear attempt by the federal government to deprive states of their jurisdiction over intrastate waters and place all water resources under the control of the federal government; and

WHEREAS, this would severely diminish state sovereignty over its natural resources, and it would detrimentally involve the federal government in an inefficient and cumbersome effort to regulate highly localized water resources such as abandoned pits and ponds; and

WHEREAS, jurisdiction over intrastate water resources is a role traditionally held by individual state governments in order to promote efficient and effective usage;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

{insert state} 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.

Approved by ALEC Board of Directors on January 11, 2011.

Keyword Tags: Energy Environment and Agriculture Task Force, Environmental Health, state sovereignty, Water